ASHEVILLE-- The Asheville Tourists fell behind the Hickory Crawdads 4-0 in the top of the first inning and were unable to overcome the early deficit. Hickory held off Asheville's comeback attempts to avoid a sweep and won 6-3.
Breiling Eusebio made his McCormick Field debut and struggled right out of the gates. The lefty allowed a base hit to each of the first four batters he faced. Eusebio also issued a pair of first inning walks. Before the Tourists stepped to the plate they trailed 4-0.
Hickory added another off Eusebio in the third. The Crawdads put two more runners aboard in the fourth but Heath Holder came in and saved Eusebio from giving up more. Holder and Kenny Oakley combined to pitch the final 5.1 innings for Asheville and limited the Crawdads to only one run.
The Tourists had trouble with Hickory's starting pitcher Michael Matuella. The righty earned his first win of the season with five shutout innings. Once the Crawdads' bullpen entered Asheville began to rally. The Tourists scored twice in the sixth and if it weren't for a spectacular double play turned to end the inning it would've been more.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Tourists put the first two runners aboard on a walk followed by a double. Hickory countered with C.D. Pelham who churned out the final three outs while stranding the runners.
Despite the loss, the Tourists took the series two games to one. It is their third consecutive series victory. Asheville will welcome the Augusta GreenJackets to town on Saturday night to begin another three-game set.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.