HICKORY, NC - The Hagerstown Suns (40-23, 84-49) won back-to-back 7-2 games over the Hickory Crawdads (34-29, 75-57) over the weekend, thereby taking the three-game series in Hickory two games to one. Hagerstown's magic number is now down to two to clinch a playoff berth, meaning any combination of two Suns wins and/or two Hickory losses over the final seven games of the season will send Hagerstown to the postseason.
In the final game of the series on Sunday night the Suns broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth by putting up a three spot. Hagerstown sent eight batters to the plate in that frame, and scored the three runs on four hits and an error. The Suns put up runs the next two innings as well to take a 7-1 advantage, before the Crawdads capped the scoring for the night with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Starting RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-1) tossed 5.2 innings and gave up one earned run on three hits and one walk while striking out four to get the win for Hagerstown. Starting RHP Colin Wiles (2-3) got tagged with the loss for Hickory. He threw 4.2 innings, surrendering four runs (two earned) on seven hits and one walk. RHP Manny Rodriguez threw the final three frames for the Suns to record his second save of the season.
In the second game of the series on Saturday night the Suns took a 6-0 lead after six innings thanks to plating at least one run in four consecutive frames. The four consecutive innings with at least one run scored began in the third with an RBI double by 3B Cody Dent. Later in the inning he scored on a sacrifice fly by CF Rafael Bautista. Two runs crossed the plate in the fourth as well, and in the fifth LF Narciso Mesa went yard with a solo shot for his third homerun of the season. The run in the sixth came home on a single by Dent.
Starting RHP Robbie Dickey (1-0) got the win in his Hagerstown debut, tossing five scoreless innings while allowing four hits and striking out three. Starting RHP David Ledbetter (6-7) suffered the loss for Hickory. He went 4.2 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks while striking out two. LHP Justin Thomas recorded the save for the Suns. He threw 2.2 innings without being charged for a run, surrendering one hit and one walk while striking out two. The save was his fourth of the year.
In game one of the series on Friday night Hagerstown was held scoreless for the final eight innings, falling by a final of 5-1. Starting LHP Yohander Mendez (3-0) and RHP Angelo Leclerc combined to limit the Suns to five hits. Mendez picked up the win, going five innings and surrendering one earned run on two hits and one walk while striking out one. Leclerc threw the other four innings, giving up three hits and striking out four to earn his third save of the year. LHP Travis Ott (0-2) made his second start for the Suns this season and lasted five innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out four. Hagerstown totaled four errors in the game.
Hagerstown outscored Hickory 15-9 over the course of the series, and the Suns out-hit the Crawdads 26-22. The Suns next head to Asheville, North Carolina to begin a three-game series with the Asheville Tourists (44-19, 85-47), which starts on Tuesday, August 26. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05pm.