Wild Ninth Gives Crawdads 7-6 Victory Over RiverDogs
Four runs in the top of the ninth inning of Tuesday’s contest made gave the Hickory Crawdads a 7-3 lead, and it looked like the game was all but over. However, the Charleston RiverDogs battled back to score three in the bottom of the ninth, and had the tying and winning runs in scoring position, before Jeffrey Springs struck out the final batter to end the game, a Hickory 7-6 victory.
Pedro Payano started for the Crawdads, and he and RiverDogs starter Daris Vargas kept the opposing team off the scoreboard through the first two innings.
In the top of the third, Hickory was able to score two and jump out to the early lead. Yeyson Yrizarri singled to get it started and then stole second base, his eighth steal of the year. Two batters later Andy Ibanez reached on an error that scored Yrizarri and it was 1-0. A hit by pitch of Dylan Moore put him on first and moved Ibanez to second. Tyler Sanchez then lined a base hit to left field and it was a two-run lead for the visitors.
In the top of the fourth the Crawdads added another run. Ti’Quan Forbes doubled to get it started and LeDarius Clark was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, and Forbes scored on a ground out by Yrizarri to extend the lead to three.
Payano was breezing through the first four innings, and staked to a three-run lead it looked like this game might be all but over. However, in the bottom of the fifth Charleston rallied to tie the score. Thairo Estrada doubled to start the inning, and moved to third when Austin Afenir followed with a single. Two batters later Jeff Hendrix singled to right field, scoring Estrada. A double by Chris Gittens scored both runners and the game was tied.
It would remain that way until the ninth inning, when things got really exciting. Jose Mesa (0-2) was pitching for Charleston. He struck out the first batter of the inning, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Frandy De La Rosa and Forbes. Chris Garcia pinch hit and grounded back to Mesa, but his only play was to first, allowing De La Rosa to score and Forbes to move to second. A walk to Darius Day kept the inning alive, and Yzarri struck out for what should have been the third out of the inning, but the ball was in the dirt and squirted away, allowing Yzarri to reach base on the wild pitch and the two runners to move up. With the bases loaded Eric Jenkins walked to drive home Forbes and extend the lead to two.
That would be it for Mesa. Hobie Harris came into relieve and retired the final batter of the inning, but not before giving up a single to Andy Ibanez that scored Day and Yrizarri to extend the lead to four.
For most teams that game would be over, but these are the never say die Charleston RiverDogs. With John Werner (1-1) on the mound, Kyle Holder singled to get the inning started and Kendall Coleman walked to put two on. Two batters later Afenir walked and the bases were loaded with just one out. A single by Leonardo Molina scored Holder and Coleman and moved Afenir to second.
Werner was out and Springs came in looking to close it out for the Crawdads. He would strike out Hendrix, but Hoy Jun Park followed with his third double of the game to score Afenir. That made it a one-run contest with the tying run just 90-feet away. However, Springs struck out Gittens to end the game, to record his second save of the season.
Both Yzarri and Forbes had three hits apiece for the Crawdads. Forbes scored two runs, and Yrizarri also scored twice and drove in a run. Ibanez drove in two.
Park had three doubles in the game, going 3-5 with an RBI. Afenir scored twice.
The Hickory Crawdads took three games in the four game series between the division leaders of the South Atlantic League. There are no games scheduled for tomorrow. On Thursday, Hickory (22-10) welcomes the Rome Braves to town (11-21). Charleston (20-11) heads to Lexington (13-19). Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier