KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (May 18, 2017) - Danny Dopico tossed 3.0 scoreless relief innings for Kannapolis, but Hickory's Yanio Perez and Ricky Valencia each homered to power the Crawdads past the Intimidators, 6-4, on Thursday night at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System. Kannapolis (20-17) rallied in the eighth inning but came up short against the in-state rivals.
Bernardo Flores (5-3) took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits over 4.0 innings while Hickory reliever Sal Mendez (3-0) earned the win. Former Intimidators pitcher Mat Ball, whom the White Sox traded to Texas in 2016, earned the save (3) for the Crawdads with a scoreless ninth inning.
Hickory took the lead with two runs in the second inning and two more in the third. Perez led off the top of the second with a triple to right field and scored two batters later on a Ti'Quan Forbes base hit. Anderson Tejeda smacked a 2-out double to cash Forbes for a 2-0 lead. Perez belted a 2-run home run (9) in the third to double the Crawdads' advantage, 4-0.
Dopico took over on the mound in the fifth inning and retired the first eight batters he faced on his way to three near-flawless innings. He struck out three and walking none while working around a base hit.
Mitch Roman kept the Intimidators in the game with RBI singles in the third and fifth innings, both times driving in Joel Booker, to cut into Hickory's lead, 4-2. Booker, who doubled in both innings, produced both at the plate and in the field with an over-the-shoulder catch crashing into the wall in center field.
In the eighth, Valencia padded Hickory's lead with a solo home run (1) off Lane Hobbs. In the home half of the frame, the Intimidators rallied with a wild pitch offense, scoring two runs on errant pitches by Crawdads reliever Kaleb Fontenot, scoring both Micker Adolfo and Antonio Rodriguez to pull within a run, 5-4. The 'Dads added an insurance run in the top of the ninth.
The series continues with a doubleheader on Friday, and one ticket is good for both games. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the first pitch of Game 1 set for 5:00 p.m. Friday's game is Get Healthy Kannapolis where fans can take a physical challenge for a chance to win Ballpark Bucks for healthy snacks at the concessions stand. Saturday, May 20 is Faith & Fireworks Night, and Sunday, May 21, the Intimidators are hosting Bark in the Park in partnership with South Ridge Veterinary Hospital. Tickets are available by calling the F&M Bank Box Office at 704-932-3267 or by visiting IntimidatorsBaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.