Jones Sharp, Ortiz Homers, Claws Keep Playoffs Hopes Alive with 4-2 Win
LAKEWOOD, NJ - Damon Jones gave up one run in six innings while striking out nine as the BlueClaws topped Hickory 4-2 at FirstEnergy Park on Saturday night, keeping their post-season hopes alive.
With Kannapolis losing 4-1 to Greensboro, the BlueClaws pulled even in the standings with the Intimidators heading into the final day of the half. Because Kannapolis has a better winning percentage by virtue of playing two fewer games, Lakewood (40-27) needs a win and a Kannapolis loss on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth.
The BlueClaws opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run home run from Jhailyn Ortiz, his fifth home run of the year and fourth since returning from the disabled list on May 21st. In the second, Nick Maton hit a SAC fly that brought home Rodolfo Duran to put Lakewood up 3-1.
Crawdads starter Tyree Thompson came out after four innings, allowing three runs.
Kevin Markham extended the BlueClaws lead with an RBI double in the sixth inning off reliever Derek Heffel, driving in Daniel Brito, to put Lakewood up 4-1.
Those runs were more than enough for Jones, who lowered his ERA to 2.05. Tonight marked the second time he's fanned nine in a game this year.
Andrew Brown came on in the seventh inning for the BlueClaws and retired all six hitters he faced, striking out the side in the top of the eighth inning.
Addison Russ earned his 13th save despite allowing a home run in the ninth to Yohel Pozo.
Quincy Nieporte and Rodolfo Duran each had two hits for the BlueClaws.
The BlueClaws send LHP David Parkinson (5-1) to the mound in the Father's Day first-half finale at 1:05 pm. He'll oppose Crawdads RHP Alex Eubanks (4-4).
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