Duran Homers Twice, Claws Open Series with 7-1 Win at Hickory
HICKORY, NC - Rodolfo Duran hit two home runs and Lakewood hit four as the BlueClaws topped Hickory 7-1 on Friday night in a game shortened to seven innings by rain. The win puts the BlueClaws at 30-games over .500 for just the third time in franchise history and first since 2006.
The BlueClaws (32-15/73-43) have now won 22 of their last 29 games and are 30 games over .500 for the first time since the 2006 team was 81-51 and 83-53 en route to an 84-55 finish. Lakewood also gained a game on second place Hickory (29-19/59-57) and is now 3.5 games ahead of the Crawdads in the SAL North.
Duran's first home run came in the second to put the BlueClaws up 1-0. After the Crawdads tied the game in the bottom of the second, Duran went deep again with a two-run blast in the fourth to put Lakewood up 3-1. Duran's two home runs came after he homered in his final at bat on Thursday night in Charleston and gave him 15 on the season.
Duran became the first BlueClaw to hit two home runs in a game this year and first since Darick Hall did it in August of 2017.
Jose Antequera got in on the action in the fifth when he launched his second home run of the season with one out in the top of the fifth inning. Matt Vierling led off the sixth with his third home run of the year and Lakewood's fourth of the game. The BlueClaws added two more in the inning, one on an RBI triple from Jhailyn Ortiz and one when Ortiz scored on a wild pitch.
Crawdads starter Tyree Thompson (7-9) gave up seven runs over six innings and took the loss.
Meanwhile, Lakewood starter Gustavo Armas (1-1) was very sharp, allowing one run over six innings. The right-hander from Playa Iguana, Venezuela has allowed just seven earned runs in five starts with the BlueClaws this year and has pitched at least six innings in each one.
Duran and Vierling each had two hits for Lakewood, who has now won five of seven meetings with the Crawdads this year.
The teams continue their series on Saturday night at 7:05 pm. RHP Andrew Brown (4-2) starts for Lakewood opposite RHP Hans Crouse (--).
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