Pitching powers 'Dads
After surrendering 35 runs in the first three games of the series, Hickory's pitchers came alive to shut Kannapolis down in a 3-2 triumph at L.P. Frans Stadium on Monday. The Intimidators (29-25, 60-64) -- who had managed nine home runs and a .348 team average in taking the first three games from the Crawdads (17-40, 47-80) -- ran into a triumvirate of starting pitcher Rafael De Los Santos and relievers Wanell Macia and Harrison Bishop that dominated in the series finale.
De Los Santos tossed five innings and allowed just two runs, both coming in the top of the first. After that, the right-hander who had gone winless at home all season and hadn't won a game overall since May 15 shut Kannapolis down before Macia and Bishop took over.
Macia allowed one single in two innings of otherwise flawless work before Bishop tossed the eighth and the ninth scoreless to earn his first save of the season.
With the hurlers holding up their end of the bargain, the Crawdads offense took to unique methods of production: none of the three runs scored on hits.
In the first inning, Keanon Simon led off by reaching on an error at shortstop. After he stole second base and move to third on a passed ball, Erik Huber's sacrifice fly to center plated Simon.
Then in the fourth, Huber was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Ronald Pena singled and Greg Picart singled thereafter to load the bases.
Joey Munoz then bounced into what had the makings of a 4-6-3 double play before Kannapolis second baseman Oney Guillen threw the ball away from first. Both Huber and Pena scored on the play to give Hickory the 3-2 advantage: its first and only lead of the series.
De Los Santos improved to 3-9 with the victory, while Bishop's save was just the second for the Crawdads since July 12.
Intimidators starter Johnnie Lowe took the loss and fell to 5-7 despite allowing just three runs (one earned) across seven innings, allowing one walk and five hits while striking out four.
The win comes after Hickory had gone just 2-18 in its previous 20 home games and after Kannapolis had outscored the 'Dads 35-9 in the first three games of the contest.
The victory now sends Hickory into a four-game series at Lexington for the Crawdads' next-to-last road trip of the season.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 Tuesday night, with Hickory RHP Rodolfo Aguirre (1-3, 5.56 ERA) taking on Lexington RHP Leandro Cespedes (2-5, 4.05 ERA).
Join Mike Janela for the play-by-play on WMNC 92.1 FM or on www.hickorycrawdads.com.
GAME NOTES: Game time was 2:17. Attendance was 950. ...It was the quickest game played by the Crawdads since a 3-0 loss to Delmarva July 23, played in 2:16. ...Hickory and Kannapolis ended their season series split at 4-4. ...Ronald Pena finished the game 3-4 with the only extra-base hit for either team: a second-inning double. ...Harrison Bishop converted the save on his first day back from attending his sister's wedding. ...Tom Hagan extended his season-high hitting streak to eight games with an eighth-inning single. ...Hickory had gone just 1-6 in its previous seven homestand-ending games before Monday's win.
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