August 20, 2013 - South Atlantic League (SAL) - Hickory Crawdads
Charleston, WV - Down to their final out and with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Hickory Crawdads responded Monday night as only they know how, with the home run. Lewis Brinson's 2-out, 2-run homer in the 9th turned a one-run deficit into a one-run advantage, leading the 'Dads to a 5-3 win over the West Virginia Power at Appalachian Power Park.
The Crawdads entered the 9th trailing the Power 3-2 and with only three hits and six total base runners on the game. Jorge Alfaro started the rally with a one out single to left and a stolen base, but Nomar Mazara followed with a strikeout to bring up Brinson with the tying run at second a two away.
Brinson worked the count to 2-1 before lining the next pitch over the left field wall for a go-ahead 2-run blast, giving Hickory a 4-3 lead. David Lyon then followed with a solo shot to right, giving the 'Dads back-to-back homers and a 5-3 advantage.
Closer Sam Wolff would do the rest, striking out the side in the bottom of the 9th to give Hickory the 5-3 victory.
The first half of the game flew by, with the first five innings finishing in just over one hour. It wasn't until the bottom of the 5th that either team scored, with the Power picking up a run on a two-out single from number-nine hitter Chris Diaz to take a 1-0 lead.
The 'Dads responded the next half inning, scoring two runs of their own to jump ahead 2-1. Kevin Torres and Luis Marte starting the inning with consecutive singles, before Nick Williams reached on an error that also allowed Torres to score. Marte would come in later in the frame on an RBI sacrifice fly from Alejandro Selen.
The lead would last until the bottom of the 7th, when West Virginia took advantage of a tiring Paul Schwendel and an ineffective Jose Leclerc to score two runs and re-take the advantage at 3-2. The inning could have been much worse, but reliever Joe Burns came in and struck out Francisco Aponte to strand the bases loaded.
Burns kept it up in the 8th inning with three more strikeouts, setting up the 'Dads rally and 5-3 win.
Burns (4-3) earned the win for his 1.1 perfect innings of relief with four strikeouts. Wolff (4) picked up the save for his perfect 9th with three Ks of his own. Power reliever Cesar Lopez (2-2) took the loss for West Virginia after allowing all three Hickory runs in the 9th.
Brinson finished the game 1-4 with his 20th home run of the season. Now with 20 homers and 20 stolen bases, Brinson becomes the first-ever 20/20 player in Crawdads history. Lyon also ended the night 1-4 with a home run, while Torres and Marte each went 1-3 with a run scored.
The win is the 6th of the season for the Crawdads (32-25) when trailing after eight innings, the most in the South Atlantic League. The loss is the first of the season for the Power (35-21) when leading after 8 frames. The win also moves the 'Dads only 1.5 games back of the Power for the Wild Card playoff spot in the Northern Division.
The 'Dads will now travel to Asheville to start a 3-game series with the Tourists. Game one on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
Crawdads Jersey Auction: The 2013 Crawdads Jersey Auction is up and running! Bid on the actual game worn road uniforms of your favorite players from the last 3 years, including Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar, Ryan Rua, Nick Tepesch, Lewis Brinson, Justin Grimm and Jorge Alfaro!
Hickory Homer Countdown: Brinson and Lyon's back-to-back blasts in the 9th raised the Crawdads season home run total to 158, just 15 away from the South Atlantic League record of 173 home runs in a season.
Crawdads on the Road: The Crawdads stay on the road for three more games with a series in Asheville. The 'Dads will return home on Friday, August 23 for a 3-game home stand against Augusta.
Individual Tickets for all Crawdads home games are available right now at Hickorycrawdads.com or by calling (828) 322-3000! Group outings, corporate partnerships, Buffalo Wild Wings Claw Club memberships and Ticket Books are also available right now by calling the Front Office at (828) 322-3000.