KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Sept. 8, 2017) - Gavin Sheets homered and three I's relievers combined to produce four scoreless innings, as the Intimidators defeated the Greensboro Grasshoppers 3-1 on Friday night at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System, to earn a sweep of the Northern Division Series and a trip to the South Atlantic League Championship Series. Kannapolis will play for its first league title since 2005.
Starting pitcher Blake Hickman (1-0) earned the win, allowing one run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts in five innings. Danny Dopico anchored the bullpen with 1 and 1/3 scoreless frames to earn his first save of the postseason. Greensboro starter Ethan Clark (0-1) suffered the loss allowing three runs on four hits in 3 and 1/3 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
Greensboro scored first in the top of the third inning when Jarrett Rindfleisch doubled to lead off the frame and later scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Jhonny Santos giving the Hoppers a 1-0 edge. However, Greensboro was silenced the rest of the night as the Kannapolis bullpen in relief of Hickman compiled nine strikeouts, including eight in a row between sixth and eighth innings and did not allow a hit.
The Intimidators tied the game when Sheets led off the fourth inning with a 332-foot home run to right field. Up next, Jake Burger singled and two batters later Mitch Roman walked putting two on base. With two outs, Zach Remillard singled through the left side scoring both Burger and Roman to give Kannapolis a 3-1 lead.
The Intimidators host Game 1 of the best-of-five Championship Series on Monday at 7:05 p.m. against either Greenville or Charleston. Game 2 will also be played in Kannapolis on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Playoff tickets are available by calling the F&M Bank Box Office at 704-932-3267, or by visiting IntimidatorsBaseball.com. The box office will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.