Hernandez Single Buries 'Birds in Ninth

Bonilla strikes out eight over 4.2 strong innings; Hickory wins 4-2

(JOEY GARDNER)

By Will DeBoer / Delmarva Shorebirds | August 28, 2018 10:35 PM

SALISBURY, MD - Yonny Hernandez laced a two-run single with two out in the top of the ninth, lifting the Hickory Crawdads to a 4-2 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds on Tuesday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.

With the game tied at 2-2, Yohel Pozo led off with a sharp grounder to second that caught the lip of the grass and caused problems for Mason McCoy. Preston Scott followed with a single of his own to put two men on, and Kole Enright bunted the runners into scoring position. Nick Vespi responded by striking out Justin Jacobs; he then intentionally walked Bubba Thompson to load the bases and set up a showdown with Hernandez. On a 3-2 pitch, Hernandez reached out and pegged a soft liner into center for a single, scoring pinch-runner Miguel Aparicio and Scott to put the Crawdads (38-26, 68-64) up 4-2.

The Shorebirds (30-31, 65-63) had little answer against Hickory's Demarcus Evans in the ninth, as Evans retired Delmarva in order, finishing a game-ending stretch of 17 Shorebirds retired in a row.

Evans (4-1) earned the win on the day he was named a SAL Postseason All-Star, striking out four over two perfect innings. Vespi (5-6) endured the loss after giving up two unearned runs in the ninth.

Tyreque Reed's mammoth solo home run gave the Crawdads an initial 1-0 lead in the top of the second. In the home second, Trevor Craport worked a one-out walk. Seamus Curran then smashed a low line drive that struck Hickory starter Reid Anderson's right foot; Anderson recovered to throw Curran out at first and stay in the game, and Craport took second base. Jean Carrillo then hit a slow grounder to short, and Hernandez's hurried throw sailed wide of the bag. The single-and-error allowed Craport to score to tie it at 1-1.

Mason McCoy led off the bottom of the third with a walk, and Cadyn Grenier followed with a single to put two men on. Zach Jarrett followed with a flyout deep enough to right to allow McCoy to take third. With Jean Carlos Encarnacion at the plate, Anderson spiked a pitch well in front of the plate and up the first base line, allowing McCoy to scamper home to put Delmarva in front 2-1.

Pitching settled in from there as Anderson matched Delmarva's Brandon Bonilla and Nick Gruener blow for blow. The Crawdads finally broke through against Gruener in the top of the eighth. Hernandez led off with a double and took third on a passed ball. With one out, Reed chipped a slow groundball up the first base line, and the insuing tag of Reed took place well after Hernandez crossed with the run to tie the game at 2-2 and set up the game-swinging ninth.

Hernandez proved to be the hero of the day for the Crawdads, finishing 2-for-4 with a double, run, stolen base, and two RBIs. Reed drove in two runs, one on the solo homer and one on the weak groundout.

Grenier singled twice for two of the Shorebirds' three hits on the day.

Bonilla started for Delmarva and shined through 4.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking four and striking out a season-high eight. Gruener soldiered through the eighth, giving up just an unearned run on one hit over 3.1 frames.

Hickory's Anderson saw his six-start winning streak broken in a no-decision; he surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits over seven innings, walking three and fanning four.

The Shorebirds aim to get back in the series against the Crawdads on Wednesday night. Brenan Hanifee (8-5, 2.91) takes the hill for Delmarva against A.J. Alexy (5-8, 3.79) for Hickory. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. with gates opening at 6:00. Wednesday night is the final Silver Slugger Game of the season, presented by Peninsula Home Care. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:50 with Will DeBoer and Drew Williams on the call.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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