Augusta, GA - A seemingly easy win turned into anything but for the Hickory Crawdads Sunday afternoon as the Augusta GreenJackets rallied for a pair of 9th inning runs, but the 'Dads ultimately escaped the jam and came away with a 5-4 win over the 'Jackets at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Hickory entered the game's final frame with a 5-1 lead they had held since the 4th, but Augusta refused to go down quietly as they put two runners on with only one out against Crawdads reliever David Perez. An ensuing error by 'Dads shortstop Josh Morgan allowed one run two score and put runners at second and third. GreenJackets pinch hitter Aramis Garcia followed with a 2-RBI single to left that cut the Crawdads lead to a single run at 5-4. That prompted Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale to bring in his closer John Fasola, who was finally able to end the game with a groundout to give the 'Dads a 5-4 win.
Prior to the 9th inning drama the Crawdads built an early lead with two runs in the 2nd and three tallies in the 4th. Marcus Greene started the 2nd inning with a leadoff walk and came in two batters later on an RBI triple by Morgan. Isiah Kiner-Falefa followed with an RBI single to right to put Hickory ahead 2-0.
Augusta got on the board with a run in the bottom of the third, but Hickory starter Collin Wiles minimized the damage with an inning-ending double play to keep the 'Dads on top. The Crawdads then gave themselves some breathing room the next half inning, when Jose Cardona lined a 3-run home run to left to push the score to 5-1.
Cardona finished the game 3-5 with a home run, triple, and two RBIs, while Morgan went 2-3 with a triple, two runs scored, and an RBI.
Wiles (4-1) earned the win for Hickory with one run allowed on five hits, four walks, and four strikeouts over five innings pitched. Augusta starter Jose Reyes (2-1) was handed the loss after giving up all five runs on eight hits, one walk, and 10 Ks over 7 IP. Fasola improved to a perfect 8/8 in save opportunities by recording the final out.
The win gives the Crawdads (26-9) a four-game series sweep over the GreenJackets (17-18) and stretches their current winning streak to five games. The 'Dads will return home for a three-game series against the second place West Virginia Power (20-16) at L.P. Frans Stadium starting Monday night at 6:00 pm.