The Hickory Crawdads broke out of their week-long slump in emphatic fashion Thursday night, as the 'Dads tied a season high with 15 runs on 15 hits in a blowout 15-0 win over the Rome Braves at State Mutual Stadium.
The Crawdads entered the game mired in a season-long six game losing streak, but the 'Dads combined their dominant night at the plate with the team's seventh shutout of the year to snap the skid and improve the Crawdads road winning streak to 11 consecutive games.
All 10 batters who stepped to the plate for Hickory reached base safely at least once. Ryan Cordell led the attack with a perfect 3-3 night including two walks and three runs scored, while Nomar Mazara (2-5, 4 RBIs, 2B, BB, 3 R) and Ronald Guzman (1-3, 4 RBIs, HR, 2 BB) each drove in four runs in the rout. On the mound, Anyelo Leclerc, Scott Williams, and David Ledbetter combined to hold the Braves scoreless on six hits, six walks, and nine strikeouts.
The Crawdads wasted no time in jumping on Rome starter Tyler Brosius, with the first six Hickory hitters all reaching base safely to start the game. Janluis Castro began the contest with a leadoff walk, while singles by Evan Van Hoosier and Ryan Cordell loaded the bases. Mazara then drove in the first two runs of the night on a two-RBI single, followed by a RBI base knock by Kellin Deglan and a single from Joe Jackson combined with a fielding error by Braves center fielder Connor Oliver to bring in yet another run for a 4-0 'Dads advantage.
Hickory's lead swelled to 10-0 with six more runs in the 2nd frame. Castro once again kick started the inning with a leadoff single to right, followed one out later by three consecutive walks to Cordell, Mazara, and Deglan to force in a run and chase Brosius from the game. The Braves then turned to reliever Michael Swanner, who promptly walked Jackson to bring in another tally. One batter later, Guzman provided the big blast of the game with a grand slam down the right field line.
Fast-forward to the 5th, and the Crawdads pushed their lead to 14-0 with a 2-RBI double by Mazara, a RBI double from Deglan, and a RBI single by Travis Demeritte. The 'Dads finally capped the scoring with their final run in the top of the 6th, when Luis Marte reached on an infield single, took second on a wild pitch, and eventually scored on a throwing error by Rome third baseman Carlos Franco for the final 15-0 score.
In an unusual official scoring twist, Ledbetter (2-4) was awarded both the win and the save (1) for the Crawdads after throwing three scoreless frames on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts. Brosius (2-7) took the loss for the Braves after allowing eight runs on six hits and four walks over 1.1 innings pitched.
The Crawdads (14-8) are now 5-0 against the Braves (5-17) this season, with the two teams meeting up again Friday night at 7:00 pm for game two of the four-game series.
Asheville leads the best of five series 2-1. Game four is tonight at Henkle Alley Field.
Caldwell County: 6
Shelby wins the series 3-0.
The Hickory Crawdads appeared on the way to snapping out of their slump Wednesday night when Kellin Deglan hit a game-tying 3-run home run in the 9th to send the contest to extra innings, but four scoreless frames later it was the visiting Lexington Legends who came through with three runs in the 14th to give the 'Dads a 10-7, 14-inning loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The 14-frame marathon lasted 4:36, both marking season highs for the Crawdads. The two teams combined for 38 hits, the most in a Hickory game this year, with the 'Dads allowing a season-high 22 hits to the Legends.
The first eight frames of the contest appeared fairly normal. Lexington utilized a pair of Crawdads errors and a pair of hits to score three runs in the top of the 1st, with the 'Dads responding with a RBI groundout by Deglan in the bottom of the frame to make the score 3-1. The Legends tacked on one run in the 4th and two more in the 6th off of Hickory starting pitcher Tyler Smith to push the score to 6-1, before Ronald Guzman lined a 2-run homer to right-center field for the Crawdads in the home half of the 6th for a 6-3 score.
The 'Dads narrowed the deficit to 6-4 when Travis Demeritte delivered a RBI single in the 8th, but Lexington came back with a single tally of their own in the top of the 9th for a 7-4 advantage. Down to their final out and with two men on in the 9th, Deglan emerged as the hero for the Crawdads with a game-tying, 3-run blast to right to deadlock the score at 7-7 and send the game to extra innings.
Both teams had opportunities to win the game in extras, most notably a bases loaded, one out scenario for Hickory in the 10th that failed to produce a run, but in the end it was the Legends who finally broke through in the top of the 14th with three runs against Crawdads reliever Jose Valdespina for a 10-7 lead. The 'Dads had one last gasp in the home half of the frame with the team bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Jackson, but regular Lexington infielder Kevin Kuntz got Jackson to fly out to center to end the game.
Legends reliever Alex Black (3-1) earned the win after initially blowing the save in the 9th, with the right-handed reliever totaling three runs allowed on five hits, six walks, and seven strikeouts over five innings from the bullpen. Valdespina (2-1) took the loss for Hickory after giving up three runs on six hits over 2.2 frames. Kuntz earned his first career save for the Legends with a scoreless inning in the 14th.
Deglan ended the night 1-4 with his 14th home run of the season, four RBIs, and two walks, while both Ryan Cordell (3-5, 2B, 2 BB, 2 R) and Janluis Castro (3-6, 2B, BB) finished with 3-hit games.
The Crawdads (13-8) have now lost six-straight games to tie the team's worst skid of the year. The 'Dads will try to right the ship on the road as the team starts a four-game series in Rome against the Braves Thursday night at 7:05 pm.
The Hickory Crawdads looked to be putting their recent struggles behind them Tuesday night when the team jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 1st inning, but the big opening frame wasn't enough for the 'Dads as they fell to the visiting Lexington Legends 16-8 at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Hickory pitching staff allowed a season-high 19 hits to the Legends in the slugfest defeat, with eight of the nine Lexington batters collecting at least one base knock while all nine scored at least one run. The Crawdads offense also had eight of the nine members of the lineup end the night with a hit, while all nine reached base safely in some manner. The loss is the fifth straight for the Crawdads and secures a second-straight series loss for a team that hadn't lost a series in two months prior to the current home stand.
The 'Dads 1st inning explosion saw the team send all nine batters to the plate against Legends starting pitcher Luis Rico, with a RBI fielder's choice groundout by Ryan Cordell, a 2-run home run from Kellin Delgan, and a RBI double from Ronald Guzman giving the team a 5-0 advantage. Lexington responded with an even larger inning of their own in the 2nd, as the Legends sent 13 men to the plate and scored eight runs on seven hits to take an 8-5 lead and chase Hickory start Akeem Bostick from the game.
The Crawdads picked up another tally in the bottom of the 2nd on a leadoff, solo home run from Evan Van Hooiser to cut the deficit to 8-6, before loading the bases with two outs in the 3rd with Van Hoosier due up again. The 'Dads DH couldn't come through again though, as he grounded out o short to end the threat and the frame.
The Legends would pull away from there, with the road team getting to Hickory reliever Jose Monegro for three runs in the 4th and four in the 6th for a 15-6 advantage. The Crawdads scored their final two runs in the bottom of the 6th on a RBI groundout by Michael De Leon and a RBI single from Joe Jackson for a 15-8 score, before Lexington plated their last tally in the 7th for the 16-8 final.
Third baseman Mauricio Ramos led the Legends attack, going 5-6 with his 5th home run of the year, two RBIs and five runs scored. Deglan paced the Hickory offense with a 2-5 night including his 13th long ball of the season, two RBIs and a double. Van Hoosier (2-5, HR, RBI, 2 R), Jackson (2-5, RBI, R), and Guzman (2-3, 2 2B, RBI, R, BB) finished with multi-hit games for the Crawdads as well.
Lexington reliever Matt Alvarez (4-3) earned the win with two perfect innings of relief complete with two strikeouts, while Bostick (5-4) took the loss for Hickory with a season-high eight runs given up on seven hits, three walks, and a strikeout over 1.2 innings pitched.
The Crawdads (13-7) will try to snap their skid and salvage their final game against the Legends (8-12) Wednesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.
The best of five series is tied 1-1. Game three is set for Wednesday at Asheville.
Caldwell County: 5
Shelby Post 82 leads the best of five series, 2-0. Game three of the series is set for Wednesday at Shelby.
The Texas Rangers announced today that Hickory Crawdads RHP Cody Kendall has been promoted to the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, becoming the sixth 'Dad this season and the third in the last week to move up in the Rangers organization.
Kendall, 24, leaves Hickory after leading the team in ERA (1.02), wins (7), and saves (7), while also posting a .213 batting average against and a 42/15 strikeout/walk ratio. An 8th round selection by the Rangers in 2012 out of Fresno State University, Kendall was one of three Crawdads named to the 2014 South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory, where the right-hander threw a perfect inning of relief. Kendall also spent time with the 'Dads in 2013, going 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA and seven saves over 25 relief appearances.
With only 23 active players on the roster following Kendall's departure, right-handed pitchers David Ledbetter and Patrick Kaminska have both been added to the Crawdads from the Arizona League. Ledbetter, 22, pitched for the Crawdads previously this year, going 1-4 with an 8.26 ERA over seven starts totaling 28.1 innings pitched. A 3rd round selection by the Rangers in the 2013 Draft, Ledbetter didn't allow a run over four appearances and 12.2 IP while pitching in the AZL. Kaminska, 23, also posted a spotless ERA in the AZL, with 10.1 total scoreless frames during six relief appearances. The Rangers signed Kaminska as a non-drafted free agent last month out of Central Michigan University.
Kendall is the third Crawdad to be sent to Myrtle Beach this week, joining RHP Kevin Pucetas and OF Lewis Brinson. The trio joins fellow 2014 'Dads alumni Nick Vickerson, Abel De Los Santos, and Kevin Torres on the Pelicans roster.
The Hickory Crawdads continued their recent slide while dropping their fourth straight game Monday night, as the 'Dads opened their series against the Lexington Legends with a 9-2 loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Crawdads began the 2nd half of the South Atlantic League season with a league-best 13-2 record, but the current home stand has not been kind to the 'Dads as they were swept in three games by the Southern Division leading Savannah Sand Gnats prior to losing the first game of their series vs. the Legends. Despite the skid, Hickory still remains in a 3-way tie for first place in the Northern Division with Greensboro and Kannapolis.
Lexington wasted no time in jumping on Crawdads starting pitcher Cole Wiper, scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the 1st for a 2-0 score. The Legends lead doubled to 4-0 with two more tallies in the 3rd, this time with the visitors taking advantage of a fielding error by 'Dads second baseman Janluis Castro and a throwing error by first baseman Ronald Guzman to plate a pair of unearned runs.
Hickory got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd, with Joe Jackson driving in Luis Marte with a two-out RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-1, but the Legends answered back with another run in the 4th and two more runs in the 5th to take a 7-1 lead and chase Wiper from the game.
Lexington plated their final two tallies for a 9-1 lead in the 8th thanks to a hit and a pair of walks off of new Crawdads reliever Scott Williams who was making his professional debut. The Crawdads finished the scoring in the bottom of the 9th, when Travis Demeritte lined his league-leading 18th home run of the season over the right-center field fence for a solo blast and the final 9-2 score.
Wiper (5-7) took the loss for the 'Dads with a season-high seven runs allowed on seven hits over 4.1 innings pitched. Lexington starter Matt Tenuta (4-7) earned the win after allowing one run on three hits during his 5.2 innings. Reliever Pedro Fernandez picked up his first save of the year for the Legends after holding Hickory to one run on one hit over 3.1 frames from the pen.
The Crawdads (13-6) and Legends (7-12) will match up again on Tuesday for game two of the three game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Asheville leads the best of five quarterfinal series 1-0. Game two is Tuesday at Henkel Alley Field in Conover.
Caldwell County: 6
Shelby leads the best of five quarterfinal series 1-0. Game two is Tuesday at MS Deal Stadium in Granite Falls.
The Texas Rangers announced today that Hickory Crawdads RHP Kevin Pucetas has been promoted to the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, becoming the fifth 'Dad this season and the second in four days to move up in the Rangers organization.
Pucetas, 29, leaves the Crawdads after going 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA and a .250 average against over 40.2 innings pitched primarily out of the bullpen. The knuckleballer did make one start for the 'Dads, taking the loss against Lakewood on June 12th despite throwing an 8-inning complete game with only three runs allowed on 10 hits.
The 6'4" South Carolina native was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 17th round of the 2006 Draft, prior to being named the South Atlantic League Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2007, the California League (High-A) Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2008, and a Pacific Coast League (AAA) Mid-Season All-Star in 2009. Following a trade to the Kansas City Royals in 2010, Pucetas was named an Eastern League (AA) Mid-Season All-Star in 2012. Pucetas was signed by the Rangers as a Minor League free agent in 2013 while converting to being a knuckleball pitcher.
Pucetas joins fellow 2014 Crawdads Lewis Brinson, Nick Vickerson, Abel De Los Santos, and Kevin Torres on the Pelicans roster.