SALISBURY, MD - The Delmarva Shorebirds broke out the big bats late as they clubbed their way to their 90th with a 9-5 regular season-closing victory over the Kannapolis Intimidators on Monday afternoon at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.With the win the Shorebirds (42-27, 90-48) join extremely elite company. They become
SALISBURY, MD - The Delmarva Shorebirds broke out the big bats late as they clubbed their way to their 90th with a 9-5 regular season-closing victory over the Kannapolis Intimidators on Monday afternoon at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
With the win the Shorebirds (42-27, 90-48) join extremely elite company. They become the first South Atlantic League team since the 2006 Augusta GreenJackets and just the 14th team in modern SAL history (since 1980) to reach the 90-win plateau.
With the game knotted at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the Shorebirds busted out in a big way. Shayne Fontana legged out an infield single to begin the frame and then stole second and advanced to third on the play when the throw down sailed into center. Toby Welk then drew a walk to put two aboard. After a strikeout, Welk swiped second base during another strikeout. Doran Turchin followed by working a free pass to load the bases. Alexis Torres came up next and provided the punch as he socked a two-run single to left restoring the lead for the Shorebirds at 6-4.
Adam Hall followed by beating out an infield single to second, and Turchin never stopped running from second, scoring to extend the lead to 7-4. Johnny Rizer continued the onslaught as he ripped an RBI single to right, sending Hall to third, with the score now 8-4. An errant throw back to the mound from catcher Gunnar Troutwine during the next plate appearance allowed Hall to scamper home from third to cap the five-run frame with Delmarva ahead 9-4.
Alex Destino socked a solo homer in the ninth for Kannapolis to make it 9-5, but it was far too little and too late for the Intimidators (36-34, 64-74), who played the final game under that identity before their impending name change over the offseason.
Matt Hammonds (5-2) picked up the win for the Shorebirds, firing two innings out of the bullpen and allowing three runs on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Hansen Butler (1-2) was tagged with the loss for the Intimidators after lasting just two-thirds of an inning, giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out two.
With two outs in the first, the Shorebirds got to work. Ryne Ogren slapped a single the other way and Fontana sent him racing home as he thumped a double to right to make it 1-0.
Delmarva doubled their lead in the second. Cody Roberts walked to open the inning but was erased when Seamus Curran chopped into a fielder's choice. After a flyout, Torres roped a double off the top of the left field wall, moving Curran to third. A walk to Hall loaded the bases, then Rizer worked a free pass of his own to force in a run and extend the lead to 2-0.
Kannapolis got on the board in the top of the fifth. With one away, Lenyn Sosa socked a solo homer to left to cut the Delmarva lead to 2-1.
The Shorebirds restored their two-run advantage in the very next half inning. Rizer ripped a single to right to start the inning and then moved to second when a pickoff attempt from catcher Troutwine sailed down the right field line. A flyout to center then allowed Rizer to scamper to third. Following a lineout, Welk drew a walk to put runners at the corners. With two strikes on him, Roberts mashed an RBI single to center putting Delmarva up 3-1.
Turchin kicked off the sixth by clobbering a solo homer to left, his sixth of the season, making it a 4-1 ballgame.
Kannapolis clawed all the way back in the top of the seventh. Ramon Beltre started the inning with a base hit and Ian Dawkins pushed him to third with a double down the left field line. Sosa drove in Beltre with a sacrifice fly as Dawkins moved to third and Dawkins subsequently scored on a Destino groundout to make it a one-run game. Tyler Osik tied the game up at 4-4 as he belted a solo homer to center, setting the stage for Delmarva's furious rally in the bottom half.
Eight of the nine Shorebirds in the starting lineup collected at least one base hit. Hall capped off his marvelous campaign with his 45th multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a triple, RBI, run scored and a walk. Torres posted his second straight two-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Likewise, Fontana went 2-for-4, adding a double, RBI, run scored, and stolen base while also being hit by a pitch. Rizer posted two hits as well, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a run, and a walk.
Kannapolis clubbed three homers in the game, all solo shots, hit by Sosa, Osik, and Destino. Destino added two singles in addition to his homer, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Adam Stauffer started for Delmarva and went three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out three in a no-decision.
Kannapolis starter Kevin Folman also did not factor into the decision after allowing three runs over 4.2 innings on six hits and four walks while picking up four strikeouts.
Delmarva finishes the second half tied with Hickory for the Northern Division title. The Crawdads claimed a tiebreaker in head-to-head matchups and will officially be listed as second half champions.
With the regular season wrapped up, the Shorebirds now head into postseason play for the first time since 2005. Delmarva will take on the Hickory Crawdads in the Northern Division Championship Series beginning on Wednesday at Hickory. Grayson Rodriguez (10-4, 2.68) has been tabbed as the Shorebirds' starter for Game 1, while the Crawdads will counter with Ricky Vanasco (0-0, 1.69). First pitch from LP Frans Stadium is slated for 7:00 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch app begins at 6:45 with Will DeBoer on the call.