Crawdads hurt Hoppers' hopes with sweep
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Hickory Crawdads dealt a blow to the first-half pennant hopes of the Greensboro Grasshoppers with a sweep of a doubleheader Thursday night at First Horizon Park.
The Crawdads won the first game 5-4 and took the second one 7-5. Although first-place Lexington lost to Lake County, the Hoppers dropped 4½ games behind the Legends in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League.
There are 10 games remaining in the first half, including three at Lexington beginning Friday. After that series, Greensboro plays four games in Asheville before returning to First Horizon to close out the first half with three games against Lexington.
Greensboro, which has lost four straight, spent the evening overcoming deficits but never taking the lead. In the first game, the Hoppers rallied from 3-0 down to tie the score on Jeff Van Houten's three-run homer. Trent D'Antonio's solo homer in the bottom of the seventh tied it 4-4 and sent the game into extra innings.
In the eighth, the Crawdads' Steve Lerud doubled off Hoppers' reliever Blake Jones and scored on a single by Cameron Blair. Justin Vaclavik, who had blown the save in the seventh, held on in the eighth to earn the win.
In game two, a four-run fifth inning gave the Crawdads a 7-1 lead. The Hoppers got three runs back in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by Andy Jenkins' two-run double.
D'Antonio drilled his fourth home run in three games to make it 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh. James Guerrero followed with a double and went to third on a wild pitch and Kris Harvey walked. Matt Swanson relieved Romulo Sanchez and got Jenkins to hit into a double play to end the game.
Swanson's sixth save earned a win for reliever Jean Garavito.
Mike Carlin had four hits on the night for Hickory. Brent Lillibridge had a triple in the first game and his eighth homer of the season in the second. Harvey had three hits and D'Antonio drove in three runs for Greensboro.
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