HICKORY- The Asheville Tourists displayed both mental and physical toughness in a series-opening victory against the Hickory Crawdads on Wednesday night. Asheville built an early lead, fell behind late, and rallied to overcome adversity for a grueling 7-6 win.
The Tourists did an excellent job against Hickory's starting pitcher Hans Crouse. Asheville manufactured a run in the top of the first via a Cade Harris walk, a sacrifice bunt, a stolen base, and a wild pitch. The Crawdads tied the game in the second on a solo Home Run but Grant Lavigne responded with a solo Home Run of his own in the top of the fourth.
Harris then added to the Tourists advantage with a two-run Home Run off Crouse in the fifth inning after Kyle Datres doubled to left-center. Unfortunately, Asheville 4-1 lead was fairly short-lived. The Crawdads plated one in the bottom of the fifth and then two in the sixth to tie the score.
Hickory wasn't done. The home team netted two more runs in the seventh and took a 6-4 lead. Asheville stepped to the plate in the eighth and mounted a huge rally against a tough Crawdads bullpen. Lavigne worked a lead-off walk, Luke Morgan doubled down the line, Willie MacIver hit an RBI single to left, and Daniel Montano put Asheville back in front 7-6 with a sacrifice fly.
Raymells Rosa bounced back beautifully from a rocky debut and pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth. Alexander Martinez worked around a self-induced error and a walk before closing out the ninth by inducing a pop-out in foul territory. Nick Bush started for the Tourists and was very effective through 5.1 frames.
Harris reached base four times from the lead-off spot and Morgan totaled three hits from the cleanup spot. The Tourists will look to build on this win Thursday night where game two versus the Crawdads is scheduled for 7:00pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.