Claws Top Crawdads; Take Three of Four in Hickory
HICKORY, NC - Matt Vierling and Jake Scheiner homered while Spencer Howard gave up one run over six innings as the BlueClaws topped Hickory 5-1 on Sunday from LP Frans Stadium to take three of four from the Crawdads.
The win is the 81st of the year for the BlueClaws (40-21/81-49) and gives them a 4.5 game lead in the SAL North with just eight games left in the regular season. Their magic number is four. The BlueClaws already on the first half title and can become just the third SAL team (including the 2010 BlueClaws) since 2005 to win both halves in the same season. Lakewood takes three of four from Hickory (36-26/66-64) at LP Frans Stadium for the second time this month and the BlueClaws win the season series 10-4.
Trailing 1-0, Jake Scheiner put the BlueClaws ahead with a two-run home run in the fourth inning, his 13th of the season and second of the series.
Scheiner's home run gave the BlueClaws 90 on the season, the most in a single-season by the BlueClaws in their 18-year franchise history. They broke a tie with the 2004 team that hit 89, led by 17 from Randy Ruiz.
Matt Vierling extended the lead to 3-1 with a home run in the sixth inning, his sixth as a BlueClaw. After Lakewood got two more on base off Noah Bremer, Alex Eubanks came out of the pen. He walked Jhailyn Ortiz before a bases loaded, two-run single from Nick Maton gave Lakewood a 5-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Spencer Howard (9-8) gave up just one run over six innings while striking out seven to earn the win. Howard also moved to the league lead in strikeouts at 138 (over 107 innings). He has fanned 58 over his last eight starts, allowing eight earned runs in 41.1 innings pitched.
Crawdads starter Noah Bremer (5-6) gave up five runs over 5.2 innings and took the loss.
Luis Carrasco got the last nine outs to earn his fourth save of the season.
Scheiner and Vierling each had two hits for the BlueClaws. Scheiner is now hitting a league-best .335 in the second half and has hit safely in 36 of his last 40 games.
The BlueClaws head to Greensboro to open a four-game series with the Grasshoppers on Monday night. LHP Will Stewart (8-1) will get the start.
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