BlueClaws Open Playoffs with 4-2 Win at Kannapolis
KANNAPOLIS, NC - Dalton Guthrie scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the ninth inning and Zach Warren slammed the door to give the BlueClaws a 4-2 win at Kannapolis in Game One of the South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship Series on Wednesday.
Lakewood returns home on Friday night with a chance to sweep the Intimidators in the best-of-three series and advance to their fifth SAL Championship Series.
Madison Stokes started the ninth inning with a double before Guthrie came in as a pinch runner. Colby Fitch followed with a single. That moved Guthrie to third and Fitch to second on the throw home. With Jose Antequera batting, a Will Kincanon wild pitch scored Guthrie. Antequera followed with an RBI single to put the BlueClaws up 4-2.
Zach Warren came on in the ninth and struck out all three hitters he faced to slam the door. Warren has struck out 49 of the last 76 hitters he's faced.
Jake Elliott (0-1) was charged with both runs in the ninth and suffered the loss.
James McArthur (1-0) threw two scoreless innings to earn the win in relief. He was aided by left fielder Matt Vierling, who threw Tate Blackman out at home plate to end the eighth and preserve the 2-2 tie.
Trailing 2-0, the BlueClaws tied the game with two runs in the fourth. Rodolfo Duran led off the inning with a home run after he led the team with 18 in the regular season. Jhailyn Ortiz followed with a double and he was tripled home by Nick Maton to tie the score.
Kannapolis took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI singles from Tate Blackman and Carlos Perezoff Andrew Brown.
Those runs, however, would be the only two allowed by the right-hander. The 20-year old gave up two runs over six innings while striking out four.
Intimidators starter Zach Lewis gave up two runs over six innings while striking out eight. He did not factor in the decision.
The BlueClaws are now 19-7 all-time in the playoffs including 9-1 in the opening round.
Game Two of the series is Friday night at FirstEnergy Park. RHP Spencer Howard (9-8) starts for the BlueClaws opposite LHP Parker Rigler (6-9). Tickets are available by calling 732-901-7000 option 2 or online at BlueClaws.com.
Images from this story
Lakewood BlueClaws pitcher Zach Warren
• Discuss this story on the South Atlantic League message board...
South Atlantic League Stories from September 5, 2018
- Intimidators Drop Game One of SAL Playoffs - Kannapolis Intimidators
- BlueClaws Open Playoffs with 4-2 Win at Kannapolis - Lakewood BlueClaws
- Legends Secure First Playoff Victory Since 2001 - Lexington Legends
- 'Birds Win South Atlantic League Community Service Award - Delmarva Shorebirds
- Nick Pratto Named South Atlantic League Player of the Week - Lexington Legends
- Shorebirds Win SAL Community Service Award - Delmarva Shorebirds
- Vizcaino and Ramirez Rehab with Rome - Rome Braves
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.