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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 07:27

Crawdads Sweep Asheville On the Road

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The Hickory Crawdads played their second doubleheader of the season Tuesday night and came away with their second twin bill sweep, as the 'Dads won game one against the Asheville Tourists 10-0 before taking the nightcap 5-4 at McCormick Field.

The Crawdads, who swept both their doubleheader games in Kannapolis on April 17th, never trailed in their 14 total innings versus the Tourists and played less than half an inning with the game tied. The 'Dads jumped out in front of game one with two runs in both the 1st and 2nd frames and never looked back en route to their 10-0 victory. Game two saw Hickory score three times in the 1st before Asheville tied it with three of their own in the bottom of the 3rd, but the Crawdads quickly reclaimed the lead with a run in the top of the 4th to propel them to the 5-4 win.

Jose Trevino led the 'Dads offensive attack on the night, with the catcher going 2-3 with a pair of 2-run home runs in game one before finishing 1-4 with an RBI in the nightcap. Eduard Pinto also had a big night at the plate, ending game one 3-4 with an RBI before going 2-3 with 2 RBI in game two.

The first contest was never in doubt for Hickory, with the Crawdads scoring twice in the 1st and 2nd, and three runs in both the 5th and 6th frames in their runaway 10-0 win. Trevino kick started the offense with the first of his two, 2-run homers in the 1st. Jose Cardona followed in the 2nd with an RBI single before he stole both second and third base en route to scoring on a throwing error for a 4-0 Crawdads lead.

The advantage grew to 7-0 with three more tallies in the 5th, this time with Tripp Martin delivering a 2-RBI single and Pinto contributing an RBI base knock of his own. The 'Dads capped the scoring in the 6th when Cardona walked and eventually scored on another error before Trevino launched his second, 2-run blast to right for the final 10-0 score.

Hickory starting pitcher Collin Wiles (1-0) earned the win for his second shutout performance of the season, with the former 1st round pick tossing five scoreless frames on two hits, no walks, and three strikeouts. Wiles has not allowed a run in two starts spanning 11 innings thus far this season. Asheville starter Sam Howard (0-2) took the loss after allowing four runs, two earned, on four hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.

The Crawdads seemed to carry over their momentum from game one into the nightcap, with the club scoring three runs on three hits in the 1st to jump ahead 3-0 on the Tourists. The 'Dads loaded the bases to start the frame, with Josh Morgan reaching on a hit-by-pitch and both Michael De Leon and Ronald Guzman reaching on singles. Trevino and Luke Tendler both followed with RBI groundouts before an RBI base knock from Pinto plated Guzman for the frame's final run.

The score would hold until the bottom of the 3rd, when Asheville broke through for the first time in two games with a three run inning to tie the score at 3-3. Hickory starting pitcher Kelvin Vasquez began the frame with his fourth strikeout of the night, but the Tourists followed with a home run to right field by Drew Weeks to break up the shutout. Randy Reyes then hit a double off the wall in right and one out later Sean Dwyer walked and Forrest Wall was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Vasquez stayed in the game to face one last batter, but an RBI walk to Luis Jean ended his night.

Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale turned to reliever Nick Gardewine to get the team out of the inning, but the right-hander's outing started ominously with a hit batter to force in the game-tying run and keep the bases loaded. Gardewine settled down after that however, forcing Wes Rogers into an inning-ending groundout to keep the game deadlocked at 3-3.

The tie didn't last long, as the Crawdads responded the next half inning with a run off a leadoff double by Martin and an ensuing RBI single by Pinto to retake the lead at 4-3. The advantage doubled in the 5th when Guzman crushed a solo homer over the 42 foot wall in right field to make the score 5-3.

Asheville attempted one last rally against former Tourist Jefri Hernandez in the 9th, but Hernandez worked around a one out solo long ball by Reyes to finish off the game and give the 'Dads the 5-4 win. Hernandez earned his first save of the season, while Gardewine (1-0) took home the win after tossing 3.1 scoreless innings of relief with five strikeouts. Asheville reliever Yoelly Bello (0-1) took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits during his two frames on the mound.

The Crawdads (9-3) will go for the series sweep over the Tourists (6-6) in Wednesday night's finale, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team (26-21) closed out the home portion of its 2015 schedule with a 12-1 win over Winston Salem State (31-13) Tuesday evening at Bears Field with a couple of new single-season records along the way.

Lenoir-Rhyne junior shortstop Ryan Perkins (Woodruff, S.C.) finished with two hits and three runs batted in as the Bears scored nine runs in the final two innings to break open a close contest.

Sophomore Thomas St. Clair (Winston-Salem, N.C.), who started the game, struck out four batters to set the new school single-season record for strikeouts (91) while senior Nick Flachofsky (Pfafftown, N.C.) (2-1) earned the win in relief.

Flachofsky pitched over three scoreless inning of middle relief in addition to four strikeouts as the Bears held the Rams to just four hits on the evening. Senior Landon Elks (Shelby, N.C.), who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, also set the Lenoir-Rhyne record for single-season appearances with 26.

With the score tied at one, the Bears took the lead for good with a two-run sixth inning as senior second baseman Brantley Rumford (Rock Hill, S.C.) scored the game-winning run on an errant Rams’ throw on a sacrifice bunt.

Junior outfielder Will Thompson (Spartanburg, S.C.) and sophomore first baseman David Newcomer (Archdale, N.C.) both drove in two runs as the Bears finished with 15 hits and beat the Rams for the second time this year.

For Winston-Salem State, Jordan Cummings (Raeford, N.C.) fell to 4-3 with the loss while Gavin Culler (Clemmons, N.C.) drove in the Rams’ lone run in the top of the second inning in the setback.

Lenoir-Rhyne faces Limestone in its regular season finale on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., in Gaffney, S.C.

For the second time this season, Appalachian State University senior Taylor Thurber (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) has been named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week, the Sun Belt office announced on Tuesday.

Thurber’s latest honor comes on the heels of his stellar performance in last Friday’s Sun Belt series opener versus first-place Georgia State.

Thurber did not allow an earned run over nine innings against GSU, striking out career-high 10 and walking only one in the process. Twice in the ballgame (in the third and sixth innings), Georgia State had a runner on third base with no outs but the resilient Thurber worked his way out of both jams unscathed.

Despite the terrific effort, the tough-luck right-hander did not figure in the decision thanks to an Appalachian State error on a routine grounder with two outs in the top of the eighth that allowed the Panthers to plate two runs. The Mountaineers went on to score two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame but Thurber wound up not figuring in the decision in App State’s eventual 4-3, 12-inning loss.

With the award-winning performance against Georgia State, Thurber lowered his ERA to 2.25 and his opponents’ batting average to .218, good for second and fourth in the Sun Belt, respectively. With 55 strikeouts and only six walks, Thurber leads the conference in walks per nine innings (.75 — good for sixth nationally), WHIP (.9 — 25th nationally) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.71-to-1 — 40th nationally). His 72.0 innings pitched are also tops in the Sun Belt.

Thurber was also named the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week for March 16-22 when he threw 10 scoreless innings over two appearances, including a four-hit shutout against conference foe UL Monroe.

Thurber is scheduled to make his next appearance on Friday when Appalachian State opens a critical three-game Sun Belt series at Arkansas State. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. ET.

Prior to this weekend’s three-game series at A-State, Appalachian State wraps up a two-game mid-week set versus longtime rival Western Carolina on Wednesday at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

After today's second and final round of the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Men's Golf Championship, the Tusculum College Pioneers stood atop the field of 12 teams with a two-round score of 597 to earn the automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Men's Golf Championships with the tournament win.

Wingate University followed Tusculum with a 599 in second place, while Queens University of Charlotte totaled a 610 to take third. Newberry and Lincoln Memorial tied for fourth with a 613, while Coker and Mars Hill turned in a total of 617 to tie for sixth-place. Lenoir-Rhyne placed eighth with a total of 620 and in ninth was Brevard at 633. Carson-Newman totaled 634 strokes to place tenth and at the No. 11 spot was Catawba, who carded a 639. Anderson rounded out the men's standings at 645.

Nick Forsberg of the Pioneers was the individual medalist after shooting a one-under-par 143 (70-73).

This year's championship was shortened to 36-holes after inclement weather prevented play on day one.

Pos. School Rnd 1 Rnd 2 Total To Par

1 Tusculum 295 302 597 +21
2 Wingate 301 298 599 +23
3 Queens 302 308 610 +34
4 Newberry 308 305 613 +37
LMU 305 308 613 +37
6 Coker College 308 309 617 +41
Mars Hill 310 307 617 +41
8 Lenoir-Rhyne 315 305 620 +44
9 Brevard 314 319 633 +57
10 Carson-Newman 322 312 634 +58
11 Catawba 319 320 639 +63
12 Anderson (SC) 320 325 645 +69

All-Tournament Team

First Team
Nick Forsberg, Tusculum
Benedict Gebhardt, Wingate
Phillip Konnikov, Wingate
Alex Rios, Coker
Evan Ruhling, Queens

Second Team
Brad Hawkins, Tusculum
Andrew Hall, Carson-Newman
Jackson Bailey, Lenoir-Rhyne
Alex Merriman, Anderson
Ryan Wilkinson, Newberry
Taylor Smith, Tusculum
Tournament Champion


Individual Medalist
Nick Forsberg-Tusculum

A potentially easy win turned into anything but for the Hickory Crawdads Monday night, as the 'Dads built an early 5-run lead only to survive with a 5-4 win over the Asheville Tourists at McCormick Field.

The first half of the game was squarely in the Crawdads corner, as the team scored once in the 1st, three times in the 2nd, and once more in the 5th for a 5-0 advantage. Travis Demeritte produced Hickory's first run as he doubled with one out in the first, took third on a groundout, and scored on a balk by Asheville starting pitcher Carlos Polanco. The 'Dads second inning offense started with a one out, solo home run from Tripp Martin to left field. One out later, Josh Morgan singled to center, stole second base, and scored on an RBI single by Jose Cardona. Finally, Cardona came in for the team's third run on an RBI base knock from Michael De Leon to make the score 4-0. Hickory plated its final run in the 5th when Jose Trevino laced a solo homer inside the left field foul pole for a 5-0 advantage.

That seemed to be more than enough support for Hickory hurler Brett Martin, who began the game with 3.1 no-hit innings and faced the minimum number of batters through five before finishing with one run allowed on three hits, no walks, and three Ks over 6 IP.

The Hickory bullpen followed with two threatening but ultimately harmless innings, with relievers Trey Lambert and John Fasola combining to take the game to the 9th with the Crawdads up 5-1. The Tourists had a golden opportunity to get back in the contest in the bottom of the 8th when they loaded the bases with nobody out against Lambert, but Fasola came in and was able to get back-to-back strikeouts before Morgan made a diving catch at third base for the final out of the inning.

Asheville was finally able to break through offensively in the 9th, as the Tourists got to Fasola for three runs on three hits and a walk to make the score 5-4 with the tying run on base. The Crawdads then brought in Chris Dula from the bullpen to try to close out the game. Asheville quickly got the tying run in scoring position when DH Wes Rogers swiped second base for his league-leading 12 steal of the year, but Dula was able to end the rally and the game with a strikeout of Emerson Jimenez to give the 'Dads the 5-4 victory.

Martin (1-0) earned the win for Hickory with his standout start, while Dula picked up his first save of the season with the strikeout to end the game. Polanco (0-2) took the loss for Asheville after allowing all five 'Dads runs on 12 hits, no walks, and four strikeouts in 5.2 IP.

Martin and Trevino each finished the game 1-4 with a home run, while Cardona finished 2-4 with a double, RBI, and a run scored.

The Crawdads (7-3) and Tourists (6-4) will meet again on Tuesday for a doubleheader, with game one scheduled to start at 5:05 pm.

Hickory Crawdads outfielder Luke Tendler has been named the South Atlantic League's Player of the Week for April 9th -19th, following his dominating 9-game stretch that helped lead the 'Dads to a league-best 6-3 record.

Tendler, 23, burst out of the gates to start the 2015 season, with the Wilmington, NC native hitting .375 while leading the SAL in home runs (3), extra base hits (8), slugging percentage (.813), runs (9), and total bases (26). Tendler also ranks among the league leaders in OPS (2nd - 1.224) and doubles (2nd - 5).

Selected by the Texas Rangers in the 29th round of the 2014 Draft out of North Carolina A&T, the highlight of the extended week for Tendler came on April 12th when he went 2-3 with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th that gave the Crawdads a 6-4 win over the Hagerstown Suns.

The Hickory Crawdads game against the Kannapolis Intimidators on Sunday, April 19th has been postponed due to rain. The game will be made up during the 'Dads next trip to Kannapolis, with a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday, May 21st.

The rainout marks the second lost contest in the four-game series and the third in the past five days for the Crawdads, who won two of the three completed games against the Intimidators.

The 'Dads will remain on the road for the next three days, playing four games in three days against the Asheville Tourists. The Crawdads will return home to L.P. Frans Stadium on Thursday, April 23rd to start a 4-game, weekend series against Kannapolis.

Sunday, 19 April 2015 18:38

App State Baseball Contest Rained Out

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Appalachian State University Baseball's series finale against Georgia State has been canceled due to heavy rain in the high country on Sunday.

The Mountaineers will be back in action on Tuesday in Cullowhee. N.C. for a midweek game against former Southern Conference rival Western Carolina.

Rain forces the cancellation of the series finale between Appalachian State University softball and No. 9 UL Lafayette on Sunday.

The Mountaineers will return to Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium on Wednesday, April 22 when they host former Southern Conference foe UNCG for a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.

Sunday, 19 April 2015 18:34

Hickory Crawdads Edged Out By Kannapolis 10-9

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The Hickory Crawdads nearly overcame a seven run deficit against the Kannapolis Intimidators Saturday night, but despite scoring the game's final six runs the 'Dads came up one tally short as they fell 10-9 at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

The Hickory and Kannapolis offenses combined to score 19 runs on 30 hits, including 10 total extra base knocks. The Crawdads found themselves trailing 10-3 after the first five frames, but rallied for one run in the 6th, and two tallies in both the 7th & 8th to cut the score to 10-8. The 'Dads would plate one more run in the 9th, but ran out of outs in their 10-9 defeat.

Both teams had their bats working early, with Hickory scoring in the top of the 1st with a double by Josh Morgan and an RBI single from Michael De Leon before Kannapolis countered with a 3-run bottom of the inning for a 3-1 score. The Crawdads came back with two more runs in the top of the 2nd, as Jose Trevino singled and Eduard Pinto doubled to start the frame before scoring on consecutive RBI groundouts by Jose Cardona and Morgan to tie the game at 3-3.

The Intimidators responded by scoring the next seven runs in the contest, plating three against 'Dads starter Reed Garrett in the 2nd before plating three more in the 4th and another run in the 5th against Hickory reliever Adam Parks to take a 10-3 advantage.

The game of streaks then swung back in the Crawdads favor, starting with a run in the 6th thanks to a double by Luke Tendler and an error from Kannapolis second baseman Christian Stringer to cut the score to 10-4. The 'Dads picked up two runs in the next inning when Ronald Guzman plated Cardona and De Leon with a 2-RBI double to make the score 10-6. Hickory then scored two more tallies in the 8th on back-to-back singles from Trevino and Pinto followed by an RBI fly out by Cardona and an RBI groundout by Morgan to bring the 'Dads within two with a 10-8 score.

The Crawdads looked to finish the comeback in the 9th when Tendler led off the inning with a double to left field to bring the tying run to the plate. Tendler would score two batters later on an RBI groundout from Trevino, but the 'Dads rally would fizzle out there as Pinto ground out to second to end the game at 10-9.

Five Crawdads finished with multi-hit games, including three-hit nights from Guzman (3-5, 2B, 2 RBI) and Tendler (3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, BB).

Kannapolis starting pitcher Thad Lowry (2-0) earned the win as he settled down from his early trouble to throw six innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits, no walks, and six strikeouts. Garrett (0-1) took the loss for the 'Dads after he gave up six runs on eight hits during his three frames on the mound. Intimidators reliever Devon Davis picked up his first save of the season after allowing a run but surviving the 9th inning to close out the game.

The Crawdads (6-3) will go for the series win over the Intimidators (4-6) Sunday night, with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 pm.