Kannapolis, NC - The Hickory Crawdads pitching staff brought their swing and miss stuff to the ballpark Saturday night, as the 'Dads struck out 14 Kannapolis Intimidators in a 6-2 win at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.
The K-fest was championed by 'Dads starting pitcher Frank Lopez, who allowed two runs over 5.2 IP while fanning a season-high eight batters. The Hickory bullpen picked up right where the starter left off, with Tyler Smith striking out four over 2.1 scoreless frames and Felix Carvallo picking up two Ks during a scoreless 9th inning.
The swing-and-miss pitching was supported by six runs and 11 hits from a suddenly improving Crawdads offense. Leading the way once again was red-hot left fielder Evan Van Hoosier, who went 3-5 with three RBIs, a triple, and a run scored. Van Hoosier is now hitting .425 (17-40) with 13 RBIs in his 10 games with the 'Dads.
The vast majority of the game was actually an extremely tight affair. The Crawdads jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first, with Van Hoosier reaching on an infield single before the newly activated Ryan Cordell drove him in with an RBI double to left. Cordell came in to score one batter later on a Ronald Guzman RBI single to center.
The Intimidators answered with a run in the bottom of the frame, as Danny Hayes drove in Adam Engel with an RBI single to left to cut the score to 2-1.
Hickory pushed the lead to 3-1 with a RBI single from Van Hoosier in the top of the 4th frame, but Kannapolis came back with a RBI single by Zach Voight in the bottom of the inning to make the score 3-2.
The Crawdads were finally able to break things open and gain some breathing room with a 3-run 8th inning. Travis Demeritte led off the rally with a triple to the right-center field gap, and came in to score one batter later when Nick Urbanus laced at RBI base knock to left. Urbanus was later thrown out at second trying to steal, but the rally continued when both Jairo Beras and Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked, setting the stage again for Van Hoosier who plated both men with a 2-RBI triple to left to put the 'Dads ahead 6-2.
Van Hoosier's big night was accompanied by a solid game from catcher Kellin Deglan, who went 2-5 with a walk while celebrating his 22nd birthday. Guzman also ended with a good game, going 2-5 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Lopez (3-1) earned the win for his efforts while Kannapolis starter James Dykstra (2-4) took the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits over his 5 IP.
The win is the second straight victory for the Crawdads (14-13) over the Intimidators (14-15) and their third win in the last four games overall. The 'Dads will try to make it 3-straight when they face off against Kannapolis again on Sunday at 5:05 pm.