'Birds K.O. 'Dads on Ferguson's Walkoff
SALISBURY, MD - Jaylen Ferguson's walkoff single propelled the Delmarva Shorebirds to a 5-4 win over the Hickory Crawdads on Saturday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
In a back-and-forth contest, Ferguson delivered the final blow in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Shorebirds (17-6, 65-27). Ben Breazeale singled to open the frame, and after a strikeout Ryne Ogren was hit by a pitch. Alexis Torres then worked a full count walk to load the bases. That brought up Ferguson, who ripped 1-2 pitch to left for a single, scoring Breazeale and setting off a joyous celebration in front of 4,456 happy fans.
Felix Bautista (1-0) collected the win for Delmarva after being tagged with the blown save in the top of the ninth. Bautista threw two innings, allowing just an unearned run. Kelvin Gonzalez (4-1) swallowed the loss for the Crawdads (14-8, 55-33). Gonzalez picked up just one out in the ninth, allowing one run on two hits.
Hickory got the scoring started with a bang in the first. Pedro Gonzalez took the third pitch of the game and deposited it over the wall in left for a solo homer, his 16th of the season, giving the Crawdads a 1-0 lead.
Delmarva responded immediately in the bottom of the first. Ferguson ripped a single to begin the frame and, after a strikeout, stole second, advancing to third when the throw sailed into center. Cadyn Grenier then laced a double to left to score Ferguson and tie the game at 1-1. Following another strikeout, Cody Roberts bounced a ball to short, which Hickory shortstop Jonathan Ornelas threw away, allowing Roberts to reach second and Grenier to score to give the Shorebirds the lead. Ben Breazeale capped the inning with an RBI single to center, pushing Delmarva ahead 3-1.
Gonzalez struck again in the third to tie the game for Hickory. Ornelas doubled to lead off the inning and two batters later Gonzalez stepped to the plate again and lashed a two-run homer to left, his second of the game and 17th overall, which tied it at 3-3.
Roberts pushed the Shorebirds back ahead in the bottom of the third. With one away, Grenier shot a double to left and after a flyout advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw. Roberts then came through as he slashed a two-out RBI single to right center, staking Delmarva to a 4-3 edge.
Thanks to a few Shorebirds miscues the Crawdads tied the game in the top of the ninth. An error allowed Ryan Anderson to reach to begin the inning and he then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a groundout to second moved Anderson to third, he then scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 4-4, giving giving Ferguson the chance to play hero in the bottom of the inning.
In addition to his walk-off hit for Delmarva, Ferguson added a single and a run scored, going 2-for-5 with a stolen base. Grenier swatted two doubles, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Ben Breazeale also posted a two-hit game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Gonzalez lead the charge for Hickory with two home runs and three RBIs but had to leave the game in the bottom of the fifth after fouling a ball off his foot. Exactly one month prior on June 13 he also hit two home runs in a game at Delmarva, the only other time the Shorebirds have let someone homer twice in one game against them. The only other hits in the game for the Crawdads were an Ornelas double and Sherten Apostel single.
Drew Rom started for Delmarva but did not factor into the decision. He threw five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six.
Hickory starter Ronny Henriquez was a non-factor in the decision as well, as he lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing four runs (two earned), on six hits while striking out five.
Adam Stauffer earned a hold in his Shorebird debut with a scoreless sixth and seventh, allowing his only baserunner on a dropped third strike. Stauffer and Bautista combined to pitch four innings of no-hit, no-walk ball out of the bullpen, only allowing baserunners on defensive miscues.
The Shorebirds play their rubber game with the Crawdads on Sunday evening. Top Orioles prospect Grayson Rodriguez (7-2, 2.18) toes the rubber for Delmarva, his first appearance since the Futures Game last Sunday, against No. 2 Rangers prospect Cole Winn (1-3, 6.14) for Hickory. First pitch is slated for 5:05 p.m. with gates opening at 4:00. The Shorebirds will don their Copa de la Diversion identity, Los Gallos de Delmarva, for Sunday's game while the Crawdads will become Los Llamas de Hickory. Sunday is also Perdue Strike Out Hunger Sunday and a Kid's Club game presented by Maryland Excels with Kids Run the Bases after the game presented by Chili's. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 4:50 with Will DeBoer and Sam Jellinek on the call.
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