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Sunday, 15 June 2014 22:32

Hickory Crawdads End First Half of Season, Win 15 of Last 16

The Hickory Crawdads concluded the first half of the South Atlantic League season with an exclamation point Sunday afternoon, as the 'Dads won their 15th game over their last 16 contests with a 14-4 victory over the Lakewood BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.

A Crawdads offense which has been the driving force behind the team's resurgence erupted for 14 runs on a season-high 19 hits en route to winning their 41st game in the first half for the first time since becoming a Texas Rangers affiliate in 2009. All nine Hickory hitters reached base safely at least once in the win, while all nine also ended the game with at least one RBI as well.

Infielder Janluis Castro led the attack with a 5-6 performance, including his first home run of the year, two RBI, and three runs scored. Ryan Cordell finished one hit behind, going 4-6 with two RBI and two runs, while Jairo Beras went 3-4 with his first homer, one RBI, and two runs.

After being shutout in the first frame, the 'Dads scored at least one run in each of the next six innings, plating one in the 2nd, two in the 3rd, three in the 4th, four in the 5th, three in the 6th, and one last run in the 7th.

Castro got the run party started in the 2nd with a RBI single to right, while a RBI double from Ronald Guzman and a RBI groundout by Travis Demeritte in the 3rd plated two runs and gave the Crawdads a 3-0 lead. The advantage doubled to 6-0 with a 3-run 4th, including a solo homer by Castro, a RBI single from Michael De Leon, and a RBI sacrifice fly to center by Nomar Mazara.

The Crawdads pushed the lead to 10-0 after scoring four more runs in the 5th, starting with Beras' solo homer to left. De Leon followed later in the frame with a RBI single to right before both Mazara and Guzman drew bases loaded, RBI walks.

Hickory's lead reached its largest at 13-0 in the 6th, with RBI singles from Luis Marte and Cordell followed by a RBI groundout by Joe Jackson. The BlueClaws mounted their only offense in the bottom of the frame with four runs on zero hits, two walks, and two hit batsmen by rehabbing reliever Daniel Bard, before the 'Dads got their final run of the game in the 7th with another RBI base knock by Cordell for the final 14-4 score.

Crawdads starting pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez (4-1) earned the win with five shutout innings pitched, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out a season-high six. BlueClaws starter Tyler Viza (2-9) took the loss after allowing six runs, four earned, on nine hits over three innings on the mound.

The Crawdads (41-28) and the rest of the league will be off until June 19th for the three-day SAL All-Star Break. The 55th Annual SAL All-Star Game is scheduled for Tuesday, June 17th at 7:00 pm at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory. The 'Dads will start the second half of the schedule on Thursday with a 7:05 pm scheduled first pitch in Rome, GA against the Braves.

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