KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Aug. 8, 2017) - Blake Hickman struck out eight batters over his first five frames, but the Greenville Drive rallied for five unanswered runs to beat the Intimidators, 5-3, on Tuesday night at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System. Kannapolis (19-26 Second Half, 58-55) dropped its fifth straight game, including its last two to Greenville.
Kannapolis built a 3-0 lead, starting early when Micker Adolfo cashed Blake Rutherford with a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. In the fourth, the Intimidators extended their lead with two more runs. Gavin Sheets, Mitch Roman, and Luis Gonzalez led off the inning with three straight singles to load the bases against Drive starter Jhonathan Diaz. Zach Remillard drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in a run, and Alex Call grounded out to drive in another.
In the top of the sixth, the Drive accelerated past the Intimidators with a 4-run frame. Intimidators starting pitcher Blake Hickman was lifted from the game after throwing a run-scoring wild pitch to put the Drive on the board. Danny Dopico took the mound and also threw a wild pitch to bring in a run, pulling the Drive within one. Jerry Downs followed with a 2-run home run (1) over the right-field wall to give Greenville a 4-3 lead.
Hickman took no decision after opening his outing with five scoreless frames, striking out eight batters - one shy of his career high - before getting into trouble in the sixth. Hickman finished with three runs allowed on five hits and two walks over 5.0 innings of work.
Diaz (5-4) earned the win, allowing three runs on six hits over 5.0 innings before relievers Hunter Smith and Joan Martinez worked two scoreless innings apiece to close the game. Martinez recorded the save (1). Dopico (3-4) took the loss for Kannapolis.
The Intimidators play to avoid a sweep on Wednesday against the Drive again as RHP Dylan Cease (0-4, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound against Greenville's RHP Hildemaro Requena (6-3, 2.80 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday's game features the 11th annual Best Best USA charity challenge to benefit Cooperative Christian Ministries in Concord. Fans can purchase a $5 wristband to sample wings from a half-dozen local restaurants and vote on their favorite to help determine who is this year's King of the Wing. 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.