Hickory, NC -The Hickory Crawdads pitching staff produced a shutout performance for the second straight night on Thursday, as the 'Dads blanked the Greensboro Grasshoppers 6-0 at L.P. Frans Stadium and extended their scoreless innings streak to 18 consecutive shutout frames.
Following the club's 1-0 win over the 'Hoppers in game one of the series, the Crawdads shutdown Greensboro on eight hits, six singles, and 9 strikeouts. Luis Ortiz led the charge, with the 19-year-old first round draft pick tossing a career high six innings while striking out five and allowing only five hits. Relievers Nick Gardewine and Adam Parks finished the job from there, as the duo combined for three scoreless frames from the bullpen with four Ks and three hits allowed.
The Hickory offensive meanwhile utilized a big five-run 4th inning to take a commanding lead the team would never surrender. The 'Dads sent a season-high 11 batters to the plate in the frame, scoring their five runs on four hits, three walks, a sacrifice bunt, and a Grasshoppers error. The inning started with consecutive singles by Jose Trevino and Tripp Martin. Following a sacrifice bunt from Eduard Pinto, Josh Morgan drew a walk to load the bases with only one out. Jose Cardona then delivered the first blow against Greensboro starter Michael Mader with a 2-RBI single to center.
Morgan eventually scored on a wild pitch, and after an infield single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa and a walk from Travis Demeritte re-loaded the bases, Luke Tendler plated the fourth run of the frame on an RBI walk. The final run of the inning came one batter later on a throwing error by Grasshoppers third baseman Brian Schales that allowed Kiner-Falefa to come home for a 5-0 Hickory advantage.
The 'Dads finished the scoring and padded their lead with one last run in the 6th, with a 2-out single from Cardona and an ensuing RBI double by Kiner-Falefa giving the team their final 6-0 advantage.
Cardona finished the night 2-4 with two RBI, two runs scored, and two steals, while Kiner-Falefa went 2-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Martin (2-4, R) and De Leon (2-4, 2B) also ended the contest with a multi-hit game.
Ortiz (1-0) earned his first win of the season with his dominant, shutdown performance, while Mader (2-3) took the loss for Greensboro after allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits, five walks, and two strikeouts over his 3.2 innings pitched.
The Crawdads (18-8) will go for the series sweep over the Grasshoppers (12-14) in Friday night's series finale, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.