Behind a complete game (7 innings), one-hit shutout from RHP Lincoln Henzman on just 67 pitches (52 strikes), the Kannapolis Intimidators (38-23) defeated the Delmarva Shorebirds 5-0 in game one of the Tuesday double header at Intimidators Stadium supported by Atrium Health.
Henzman (W, 6-3) got off to hot start in the first, striking out a pair of batters, proving to be two of his six strikeouts on the day. The right-handed pitcher out of Lexington, KY got some help in the next four innings from his offense, as Tate Blackman got the scoring going with a single to left that brought in Craig Dedelow , who reached one batter prior with a double (19).
In the second, Luis Curbelo smacked a one-out triple to right field on the fourth pitch of his at-bat against RHP Brenan Hanifee (L, 4-3), as Justin Yurchak hit a deep-fly to center field for a sacrifice fly, scoring Luis Curbelo for the 2-0 lead.
In the third, Laz Rivera followed suit with Curbelo and tripled to left-center, bringing up Craig Dedelow. The Kannapolis left fielder smacked the first pitch of his at-bat to left field, scoring Rivera and giving Henzman a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, the I's tacked on two more runs thanks to an Evan Skoug double, who later scored on a wild pitch from Hanifee. A few batters later, Tyler Frost hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Curbelo who reached base on his second error of the day, giving Kannapolis a 5-0 lead.
Although the offense clicked well through the first four innings for the Intimidators, all eyes were on Henzman all night long. The former Louisville Cardinal pitcher and college baseball Stopper of the Year showed off how the transition from closer to starter is going, taking a perfect game into the fifth inning before giving up a two-out double to Chris Shaw. After the only blemish on Henzman's outing all night long, Henzman retired the next seven batters, including two strikeouts, to cap off his most dominant outing of the season. Through the first 4.2 innings, Henzman induced six groundouts and four flyouts against the Shorebirds, only throwing three balls in a count to one batter.
In the second game of the double header, the Intimidators (39-23) swept the double dip with Delmarva (32-30) with a 5-2 victory, putting themselves two games up on the Lakewood BlueClaws with less than one week of games to be played until the All-Star break.
Zach Lewis got the start for Kannapolis in game two, with his only blemish through 3.0 innings being a solo-shot to Will Robertson (4) in the second inning, giving Delmarva a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Intimidators responded with a couple runs as Blackman led off the frame with his team-high ninth homer of the season, just clearing the fence in left field to tie the game, 1-1.
A few batters later, Carlos Perez connected on his first of two hits of the day with a single into left field, scoring Yurchak from second base, after he reached on a double.
After a clean inning from Lewis in the third and Jake Elliot (W, 1-1) in the fourth, Kannapolis used a Blackman walk and a Frost double to extend the I's lead, 3-1. Two batters later and with Frost at second, Perez doubled on a line drive to left field, scoring Frost for the Intimidators fourth run of the game.
Despite giving up a run in the top of the fifth inning to the Shorebirds, Luis Robert cranked out his first hit of the double header to left field, showing off his speed a couple batters later after a Yurchak sacrifice fly to center field, giving the I's a 5-2 lead.
Aron McRee (S, 1) worked a 1-2-3 inning in the first, while pocketing a double play and a strikeout in the seventh to cap off the near-perfect day for the Intimidators on defense, earning his first save since coming back from injury.
The Intimidators will host Delmarva for three more games over the next two days, with Wednesday night's first pitch coming at 7:05 p.m. between Blake Battenfield (5-2, 1.58 ERA) and Cameron Bishop (5-3, 3.60 ERA).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.