Crawdads and Drive split pair on Thursday
HICKORY, N.C. - For the second game in a row, the Hickory Crawdads completed a come-from-behind walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Greenville Drive by the final score of 9-8 in a resumed ballgame on Thursday evening. The two teams then played a seven-inning game, in which the Drive prevailed, 5-1, splitting the evening's action before 2,568 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Wednesday night's suspended game resumed with one out in the bottom of the third inning and Greenville ahead, 1-0. CF Cody Podraza started the day's action by belting a pitch from RHP Jeremy Kehrt over the left field wall for his first homer as a Crawdad, tying the game at 1-1 right away.
After the Drive moved back in front with four runs against LHP Yoon-Hee Nam in the top of the sixth, LF Cristian Santana started the Crawdads back down the comeback trail with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, leaving the score at 5-2 through six. Greenville responded with three runs (two earned) against RHP Mark Hamburger through the seventh and eighth innings, taking an 8-2 lead through seven and a half frames.
The Crawdads came racing back in the bottom of the eighth inning, striking for five runs to pull within one of tying the score. Podraza led off the inning with a single, his third hit of the game, and took second base on a wild pitch. An out later, 3B Matt West drew a walk to put runners at first and second, before 1B Jared Bolden followed with a two-out walk to load the bases. RHP Jason Blackey replaced Kehrt on the mound to deal to C Vinny DiFazio, making his Crawdads debut, with the bases loaded and two away. DiFazio worked an RBI walk, plating Podraza and keeping the bases loaded. A wild pitch then brought in West from third and left runners at second and third with two out for RF Eric Fry. Fry unloaded on a pitch from Blackey, driving it over the right-center field wall for a three-run homer, cutting the Greenville lead to 8-7.
RHP Jorge Quintero (1-0) debuted for the Crawdads with a one-two-three top of the ninth, and the game shifted to last licks territory. SS Leury Garcia led off the bottom of the ninth inning with his first career home run, a solo shot to tie the game. Podraza then worked a walk to get back on board for 2B Mike Hollander. Hollander laid down a sacrifice bunt that LHP Will Latimer (1-1) fielded and fired wide of first base, all the way down the right field line. Podraza raced around the bases and slid across the plate just before the throw from right field, lifting Hickory to the 9-8 comeback, walk-off win. Quintero registered the win for the Crawdads, while Latimer was tagged with the loss for Greenville.
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After a brief hiatus, the two teams retook the diamond for the second game of the evening, a seven-inning contest. The Drive (25-27, 64-56) struck for an early run on a two-out RBI double by DH Ryan Lavarnway in the top of the first inning against RHP Wilfredo Boscan (6-7). Greenville then added four more tallies in the top of the fourth, chasing Boscan from the game with two two-run homers. 2B Ryan Dent hit the first long-ball with one on and one out, before RF Shannon Wilkerson went yard with one on and two out later in the inning, making it 5-0. RHP Corey Ragsdale took over on the mound and got out of the inning with no further damage done.
The Crawdads (25-27, 58-63) struck for their only run in the game in the bottom of the fifth inning against LHP Fabian Williamson (10-4). RF Cristian Santana led off the inning with another home run, his 16th of the season, extending his homer streak to a team-high four games. The previous high belonged to C Doug Hogan, now in High-A ball with Bakersfield, who compiled a pair of three-game home run streaks in July.
Ragsdale kept the Crawdads within striking distance, but Williamson tossed a scoreless sixth before LHP Lance McClain put in a shutout seventh, concluding the 5-1 win for Greenville in seven innings. Boscan was tagged with the loss for the Crawdads, while Williamson earned the win for the Drive.
The Crawdads kick off the series against Asheville on Friday night at 7 p.m. with Friday Night Fireworks, sponsored by The Light 106.9 FM, as well as the Extreme Physical Science Show, presented by Catawba Science Center. The Crawdads will also usher former GM David Haas to the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame with a pre-game ceremony before Friday night's game!
Saturday night's game features the Crawdads Beach Towel Giveaway, sponsored by Galaxy Food Centers, Dial Liquid and Bar Soap and WHKY Talk Radio 1290 AM. On Sunday, it's Bark at the Park, presented by KICKS Radio Group, when all fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game! Also, the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive the Crawdads Second Half Team Card Sets, courtesy of Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet. Final bids for the Crawdads Blast from the Past Jersey Auction will be collected in a silent auction on the concourse during the Sunday game as well.
Single game tickets for all 2009 Crawdads games are on sale at the Crawdads Ticket Office and online at www.hickorycrawdads.com and start at just $6! Season tickets, mini-plans and group outings are available at the Crawdads office, located at 2500 Clement Blvd. NW or by calling 322-3000.
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