HICKORY, NC - Blaine Prescott hit a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 10th and the Hickory Crawdads survived a frantic finish against the Delmarva Shorebirds, winning 4-3 on Sunday evening at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Prescott led off the 10th against Delmarva closer Jake Bray. On an 0-2 pitch, Bray hung a breaking ball and Prescott pounced on it, depositing the ball over the wall in left for his seventh home run of the year. The blast sent the Shorebirds (10-8, 39-47) to their eighth walkoff loss of the season against six walkoff wins.
Joe Kuzia (1-0) poached the win for the Crawdads (11-7, 38-50), pitching two innings and allowing the run and two hits to tie it in the ninth. Bray (2-3) took the loss and blew his fourth save of the season, allowing two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings.
Hickory got a run in the third inning and made it stand up for most of the game. Chuck Leblanc singled with one out and moved up to third on an Eric Jenkins double. Prescott lifted a flyball to left field, and Leblanc came in to score. Tanner Kirk's throw in from left was cut off by Alejandro Juvier at third, and Juvier rifled to the covering shortstop Milton Ramos at third to tag out trailing runner Jenkins, and the Crawdads could only get one in the inning as Leblanc crossed the plate a split-second before the tag.
It stayed 1-0 until the top of the eighth. Ramos poked the first pitch of the inning to the right field corner with a double. Kirk followed with a flare into left to move Ramos to third. Ramos then came in to score on a wild pitch from Dario Beltre to tie it, and Kirk moved up to second. After a Daniel Fajardo strikeout and Cole Billingsley grounded out, Chris Clare hit a sharp grounder to third. Leblanc lifted his glove up early and the ball skidded under and into left. Kirk scored on the error and the Shorebirds went up 2-1.
Delmarva would cough up the advantage in the bottom of the eighth. Franklin Rollin singled off Travis Seabrooke with two outs, summoning Bray in from the 'pen. Leody Taveras drew a walk, and then on a full count Alex Kowalczyk split left center with a double. Both runners scored with ease and Hickory retook the lead 3-2.
Juvier singled to lead off the ninth and Ryan McKenna sacrificed him to second. Ramos then singled to move Juvier to third. Jake Ring, who came into the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth, lifted a deep one to center field. Juvier scored on the sac fly to tie it and send it to extras.
Ring's RBI was his 45th of the season and first since June 24 against Lakewood. Ramos finished the game 3-for-4 with a double and a run, his first three hits as a Shorebird. Kirk went 1-for-3 with a double to extend his on-base streak to seven games.
Prescott went 1-for-4 with the sac fly and walkoff homer. Rollin finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run.
Both starters were saddled with no-decisions after stellar outings. Jhon Peluffo went a season-high six frames, allowing one run on three hits while walking one and striking out four. Six innings ties a career high for Peluffo, who last went that deep in a game on July 30, 2014 while pitching in the Dominican Summer League.
The Crawdads' Kyle Cody kept Delmarva at bay for seven innings, allowing no runs on three hits while walking two and fanning five.
The Shorebirds will try for the series split on Monday afternoon in the 3,000th game in franchise history. Alex Wells (7-4, 2.90) gets the ball against Hickory's Walker Weickel (2-1, 2.33). First pitch is 12:00 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports AM 960 and the MiLB First Pitch app begins at 11:45 a.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.