HICKORY, NC - The Delmarva Shorebirds took advantage of three Hickory Crawdads errors in the sixth, scoring five runs on the way to a 5-3 win on Saturday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Down 3-0, Stuart Levy led off the sixth by reaching on a two-base error at short by Anderson Tejeda. Cole Billingsley followed with a groundball single to right, moving Levy up to third. Jake Ring hit a tapper back to the mound that starter Sal Mendez couldn't handle; his error loaded the bases with one out. Up came Preston Palmeiro, who poked one through the hole on the left side to score Levy and make it 3-1.
Jake Lemoine came in from the bullpen after the Palmeiro single. On a 3-2 pitch, Collin Woody belted a double to deep left center, scoring Billingsley and Ring to tie it at 3-3. After Chris Clare was robbed of a base hit on a nice play at third, Frank Crinella lifted one into foul ground down the right field line. Franklin Rollin slid to make the catch, and an aware Palmeiro raced home to score the go-ahead run on the shallow sac fly. Ryan McKenna followed with a tough grounder to second, beating it out for an infield single and going to second on a throwing error. Woody scored to make it a five-spot in the inning, and the Shorebirds (10-7, 39-46) had a 5-3 lead.
The bullpen locked it down from there as Kory Groves and Steven Klimek combined to pitch four scoreless innings. Groves handled the sixth and seventh for his second hold of the year, getting some help in the seventh when Levy threw out Blaine Prescott trying to steal second.
In the eighth, Klimek worked around a leadoff double by Alex Kowalczyk, retiring the next three in a row. Tanner Gardner lifted a two-out popup deep into foul ground on the left side, but Woody sprinted over from third to make the catch, flipping over the side railing and holding on while sticking the landing. Klimek was perfect in the ninth to complete the save.
Matthias Dietz (1-7) benefited from the five-run sixth and earned his first career win. Dietz battled through five innings, allowing three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out three. The Orioles' No. 12 prospect had been 0-10 to start his career despite notching six quality starts in Delmarva this season.
Mendez (4-6) took the loss for the Crawdads (10-7, 37-50), giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits in five-plus innings. Klimek's save was his fifth of the season and third in the past nine games.
Hickory took an early lead with three runs in the first two innings. Leody Taveras singled with two outs in the first, and Kowalczyk walked. Dietz threw two straight wild pitches, allowing Taveras to score, and Tejeda rolled a single up the middle to bring in Kowalczyk and make it 2-0. Gardner led off the second with a double and scored three batters later on a Prescott sac fly.
McKenna finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Billingsley had two hits and a run. Woody's two-run double gives him four in the first two games of the series after his two-run homer on Friday night.
Milton Ramos made his debut at shortstop for Delmarva after his trade from Columbia, going 0-for-4 at the plate. He turned a pair of 6-3 double plays and made a leaping catch on a pop to shallow center in the seventh.
Charles Leblanc finished 3-for-4 with a double to lead the Crawdads, while Taveras went 2-for-4 with a run and a stolen base.
Rain pushed the start of the game back one hour three minutes; once it cleared up it turned into a warm, pleasant July night in Western Carolina.
The Shorebirds look to take a series advantage on Sunday evening as Jhon Peluffo (5-3, 3.53) squares off against Kyle Cody (4-6, 3.57). First pitch is 5:00 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports AM 960 and the MiLB First Pitch app begins at 4:45 p.m. with Will DeBoer on the call.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.