Crawdads Stun 'Birds Late in First Half Finale
SALISBURY, MD - On the verge of taking a three-game winning streak into the All-Star break, the Delmarva Shorebirds saw their two-run lead slip away in the top of the eighth inning, falling to the Hickory Crawdads 8-6 to wrap up the first half of the season.
Trailing 6-4 heading into the eighth, the Crawdads (40-25) got to work quickly against Matt De La Rosa. Frainyer Chavez dropped down a perfect drag bunt for a single and Jaxx Biggers followed with a single to left. Kole Enright then bounced into double play that looked like it would see the Shorebirds (48-21) clear of any danger, leaving a just a runner at third with two outs. But, Miguel Aparicio came through with a line drive RBI single to center making it a 6-5 game. After a walk to Curtis Terry, Sherten Apostle blasted a three-run homer over the batter's eye in straight away center to flip the script and put Hickory ahead 8-6.
The Shorebirds threatened to tie the game in the ninth. With two outs, Doran Turchin worked a walk and Robbie Thorburn slashed a double to left to put the tying run in scoring position. J.C. Encarnacion couldn't keep the line moving however, as Kelvin Gonzalez struck him out swinging to end the game.
Hever Bueno (1-0) collected the win for the Crawdads. Bueno went two innings and allowed one run while striking out four out of the bullpen. De La Rosa (3-1) suffered the loss for Delmarva, blowing his first save of the season, allowing four runs on four hits across two innings. Gonzalez earned his second save of the year for Hickory.
Despite the Shorebirds conceding a lead late, it was Hickory who got on the board first. Enright worked a walk to begin the game and Aparicio followed with a single. After a strikeout, Apostle notched a base hit to load the bases. Matt Whatley then brought home the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right, making it 1-0 Crawdads.
Hickory expanded their edge in the second. Chavez looped a single to left with one out and Biggers followed by working a walk. After a flyout, Aparicio ripped a double to the right field corner, scoring both runners, and putting the Crawdads up 3-0. Curtis Terry then made it 4-0 as he cranked a double to left, scoring Aparicio.
The Shorebirds got a run back in the bottom of the second. Seamus Curran collected a one out double and after a groundout, came home to score when Nick Horvath bounced single up the middle bring Delmarva to within 4-1.
Will Robertson worked a walk to begin the Shorebirds' third. After a strikeout, Thorburn was hit by a pitch to put two aboard. After another punchout, Curran walked to load the bases. Daniel Fajardo stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter and after a seven-pitch battle, deposited a grand slam over the wall in left, thrusting Delmarva in front 5-4.
Nick Horvath tacked on another run in the sixth when he ripped a solo homer over the wall in the left field corner to make it a 6-4 Shorebirds' advantage.
Apostel keyed the Hickory attack, finishing 4-for-4 with the game-winning three-run homer, his ninth of the season. Aparicio went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs while Frainyer Chavez went 2-for-5 with two runs. Jax Biggers had two hits, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
In addition to the grand slam, his first homer of the year, Fajardo added a single off the bench for Delmarva. Horvath tacked on single and RBI to go with his solo homer, his fourth of the year.
Shorebirds' starter Nick Gruener worked through early struggles in a no-decision. Gruener went five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, three walks, striking out one in.
The Crawdad's Cole Winn went just 2.2 innings in his no-decision. The Rangers' no. 2 prospect allowed five runs on four hits, walking two and striking out six.
This concludes the first half of the season for the Shorebirds who will get the second half of their campaign underway on June 20 on the road against the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Neither team has announced a probable starter for the contest. First pitch next Thursday is set for 7:00 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:45 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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South Atlantic League Stories from June 16, 2019
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