Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Meyer ’

#RakersWhoPitch: Bolin’s night on the Mound

After the Hickory Crawdads were involved in so many lengthy extra-inning games last year, the Texas Rangers decided to limit the use of their pitchers in such marathon games. The result of that will be the use of position players on the mound once the game gets to a certain point. Enter Travis Bolin during Thursday night’s 12-inning win over the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Travis Bolin pitching - Lin

Travis Bolin as he prepares to deliver the pitch during Thursday night’s game vs. Kannapolis (Crystal Lin / Hickory Crawdads)

Bolin got an inkling a few days prior to Thursday’s game that he could be used as a pitcher at some point during the season, if the situation called for it. Then, it happened and no one was more surprised that Bolin.

“I came out here (to the bullpen) and threw about 20 pitches,” said Bolin. “Then they called me in. I thought they were joking at first. The last out came and the pitching coach (Jose Jaimes) called me and said, ‘Hey, you’re going in.’ And I was like, ‘Are you guys serious? You guys are actually letting me go out and throw?’ Yeah, I went out there and had a good time.”

A good time, indeed. Bolin pitched, despite the tie game and his scoreless inning was enough to get the win as Hickory scored a run for the 2-1 walk-off victory.

“That is pretty cool,” said Bolin of the decision. “I was just happy about my first strikeout, the first batter. I thought it was pretty cool.”

Bolin said he hadn’t pitched since high school and threw just a few innings then. His brother was a pitcher, and so in watching him, Bolin had some sense of pitching out of the windup, which was fairly seamless.

Travis Bolin windup - Lin

Travis Bolin windup (Crystal Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

“I’m pretty accurate when I’m trying to hit my spots,” said Bolin. “I did a pretty good  job of it last night.”

The strikeout came as the inning’s leadoff hitter Zach Remillard swung through a 2-2 fastball. Grant Massey sent then a 2-0 fastball (heck, they were all fastballs) for a 6-3 grounder.

The one wrinkle came on a walk issued to Tyler Sullivan, an at-bat Bolin said he thought the umpire squeezed him on a pitch.

Bolin said, “Man, I painted one right on the corner and he didn’t give it to me. But that’s how it goes with pitching.”

The inning ended with a groundout to second by Joel Booker. Bolin threw all fastballs – topping out at 85, though he said he could gas up to 92, but was told to keep it eased back so as to not hurt his arm – but he was prepared to use a slider if needed.

“Actually, I was going to go to throwing a slider, or a real cut-fastball, but we ended up getting the guy out on the next pitch anyway, so we didn’t have to go to that.”

The response from teammates was described by Bolin as ecstatic and the opportunity may indeed arise again to pitch.

“I asked Spike today, I said ‘Hey, now that that actually happened, is that going to happen again?’ He said, ‘Of course, that was a test. Good job.’ I was like, ‘OK, I’m ready to go.’”

Travis Bolin gets win - Lin

Travis Bolin receives congratulations as the Crawdads close on the win vs. Kannapolis (Crystal Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

 

Crawdads position players pitching:

It rarely happened in the early years of the club’s history, but as major league teams become more cautious about over using pitchers and keeping them in a routine, position players throwing in games is becoming more common.

Over the first 15 seasons, just five position players pitched for Hickory. None did until 1999 and then from 2007 until 2013, but since 2014 it’s happened ten times, five of those in 2016.

Below is an overview of those position players who have climbed the hill.

1999: 1B Carlos Rivera – and a future big leaguer – mopped up in a game during which he gave up a run on two hits in an inning.

2000: 1B/ OF Jason Landreth allowed three hits and walk, all of which scored during his lone inning.

2000: C Jose Hernandez walked the only batter he faced and took the loss.

May 15, 2005: 2B Dan Schwartzbauer. The Crawdads were completing a suspended game from the night before against Lake County (OH), which eventually went to extra innings. After the Captains scored three in the 11th – and with another full nine-inning game to go – Crawdads manager Jeff Branson brought in Schwartzbauer, who struck out the only batter he faced.

Schwartzbauer 2

Dan Schwartzbauer fanned the only player he faced in 2005.

June 28, 2007: 2B Jose J. De Los Santos. In the night cap of a doubleheader against Kannapolis, the Crawdads had blown a 5-2 lead and ran out of available arms to pitch in extra innings. De Los Santos was brought in and gave up six runs to take the loss in an 11-5 defeat.

May 23, 2013: LF Nick Vickerson. In one of the wildest games in Crawdads history – both managers were ejected and a walk-off homer was reversed – the Kannapolis Intimidators scored four runs in the top of the 12th to take the lead. Vickerson got Justin Jirschele – the current Intimidators manager – to hit into a fielder’s choice. The Crawdads went on to score five in the bottom of the inning for a 7-6 win.

June 25, 2014: IF Janluis Castro. In mop-up duty vs. Kannapolis, Castro retired all four batters he faced, fanning two.

July 8, 2014: IF Janluis Castro. Became the first Crawdads position player to pitch twice as he entered a game during a blowout loss to the Lexington Legends. Gave up two hits, but struck out two during a scoreless ninth inning.

Janluis Castro

Normally an infielder, Janluis Castro pitched in three times in 2014, including back-to-back games. (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

July 9, 2014: 2B Janluis Casto. The Legends scored three in the top of the 14th and rather than waste a pitcher, Castro moved over from second and strike out the only batter he faced. For the season, Castro allowed two hits and struck out five of the ten hitters he faced.

August 8, 2015: C Jonathan Meyer. Became the first position player to pitch on the road since 2000. Gave up a walk-off, three-run homer at Lakewood in the 18th inning for the loss.

May 15, 2016: 1B Dylan Moore. Back-to-back errors on what should’ve been inning-ending double play balls played a big role in seven unearned runs during a 9-2 loss to the Rome Braves in 19 innings.

Dylan Moore pitching

Dylan Moore vs. Rome (Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

June 6, 2016: OF Josh Altman. The utilityman worked around two hits in the 13th inning during a game with Greensboro. However, two errors were costly in the 14th as Hickory dropped a 6-5 loss to the Grasshoppers.

Josh Altmann pitching - Lin

Josh Altmann holds a runner on while pitching during an extra-inning game vs. Greensboro (Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

July 15, 2016. C Chuck Moorman. The starting catcher entered the game during a blowout loss to West Virginia and retired both batters he faced with one strikeout.

Chuck Moorman pitching

Normally a catch, Chuck Moorman catches the view from the mound (Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

 

July 24, 2016. OF Connor McKay. A 15-3 blowout at Lakewood precipitated the use of McKay in the ninth, who retired all three batters he faced.

July 30, 2016. OF Connor McKay. After the Crawdads gave up four runs in the top of the 10th against Hagerstown, McKay was brought in and he retired the lone batter he faced.

Connor McKay pitching - Lin

Connor McKay pitched twice for the Crawdads in 2016 (Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

Game Story: Notes from Hickory at Asheville July 24

Hickory at Asheville

After the Hickory Crawdads came from behind twice, they scored three runs in the top of the ninth to claim a 7-4 win over the Asheville Tourists at McCormick Field.

The Crawdads (58-38 overall, 14-14 second half) took two of three games in the series and finished the season series with the Tourists at 7-2. Hickory went 6-1 at McCormick this season and is 13-2 there over the past three seasons. The Crawdads take an overnight bus to Lexington, Ky. and open a four-game series with the Legends on Saturday.

Asheville (49-48) dropped to 17-10 in the second half and remain a game-and-a-half in front of Augusta for the second-half, Southern Division title chase.

What happened?:

The two teams combined for 25 hits, but stranded 15 altogether in what turned into a see-saw affair.

Hickory put the first four runners of the game on base against Asheville starter Ryan Castellani with Jose Cardona scoring on Eduard Pinto’s single. The Crawdads missed a chance for more when Josh Morgan was thrown out at second trying to stretch a hit into a double. With runners on first and second and one out, Luke Tendler’s grounder forced Pinto at third, but 3B Josh Fuentes’ throw to first was wild placing Crawdads and second and third. Despite four hits and error, the Crawdads were held to the one run after Jairo Beras bounced out to the pitcher.

The Tourists scored an unearned run on Crawdads starter Ariel Jurado to even the game in the first. Shane Hoelscher doubled with two outs and scored when Roberto Ramos’ grounder went through the legs of Jonathan Meyer at first.

The Crawdads retook the lead in the third when Eduard Pinto was hit by a pitch and later scored on Luke Tendler’s sacrifice fly. However Asheville tied the game in the bottom of the inning as Omar Carrizales doubled to right and scored on Dom Nunez’s single to make it 2-2.

The Tourists took their first lead of the game in the fourth against new pitcher Yohander Mendez. Ramos doubled and stole third before coming home on Fuentes’s single.

Meyer’s RBI single in the sixth retied the game at three, but Juremi Profar’s double play ball stranded a runner at third.

Again, the Tourists fought back in the bottom of the inning. Jairo Rosario led off the inning with a double and scored on Fuentes’s second RBI single of the game.

Hickory answered in the seventh. Cardona doubled off the wall in left and moved to third on a Pinto’s sacrifice bunt. Trevino’s sacrifice fly to center made it 4-4.

Asheville put runners at second in both the seventh and eighth inning, but stranded both.

The decisive rally for Hickory came against reliever Jerad McCrummen (4-3) started when Profar doubled off the wall in right-center. Cardona beat out a bunt to put runners at the corner for Morgan. His liner to centerfielder Carrizales was just deep enough to score Profar, who slid around the tag of the catcher Nunez. Pinto singled in Cardona, then moved to third on a pair of McCrummen wild pitches before trotting home on Tendler’s double.

Adam Dian had a successful debut with the Crawdads by retiring all five batters he faced to close out the game and pick up the win (1-0).

 The Good:

Jose Cardona went 3-for-5 and scored three times, but it was his speed that factored into the equation in both the first and ninth innings. In the first, Cardona fought off Castellani’s change off, sending a soft liner that fell to second baseman Shane Hoelscher at the cut of the grass. Hoelscher made the play, but Cardona beat the throw to first and later scored the game’s first run. In the ninth, Cardona’s sacrifice bunt went between the mound and the third base line, with Cardona reaching just ahead of Fuentes’s throw.

Cardona also cut down a runner trying for a double in the sixth.

Josh Morgan had the key AB of the ninth. After falling behind 0-2 on two of McCrummen’s  fastball, Morgan fouled off a slow curveball and let another go by for a ball. The next pitch was a fastball up that he lined into center for the sacrifice fly.

Eduard Pinto ripped first-pitch fastballs for RBIs in the first and ninth inning. His sacrifice in the seventh moved Cardona to third from where he scored on Trevino’s sac fly.

Jose Trevino had a couple of hits and a sacrifice fly.

Luke Tendler doubled in a run in the ninth and made a leaping catch into the wall in right to rob Carrizales of a hit in the first.

Juremi Profar’s double starting things in the decisive ninth inning. In scoring the go-ahead run in the ninth, Profar had to steer around Nunez, who had to leap to make the catch from center and then tried for the backhand tag. In the third, Profar made a backhanded stop off a short hop to start a 5-4-3 double play.

Carlos Arroyo ran down a one-hop, soft liner off the bat of Yonathan Daza by ranging back and to his right. Because the ball held up, Ramos had to hold up at second and then failed to advance when Arroyo looked him back to the base. Arroyo then recorded the out at first.

Jonathan Meyer stayed with a breaking pitch away from James Lomangio and sliced it along the line in right for a run-scoring single.

Adam Dian: Showed a fastball 90-93, but took advantage of an aggressive lineup as he started the outing with several curve and changeups, getting Ryan Stevens to chase a breaking ball for a strikeout to strand a runner at second.

The-Not-So –Good:

Yohander Mendez gave up nine hits over 4.1 innings, four of those by left-handed hitters. From my vantage point along the third-base line, it appeared righties were able to lean out over the plate and serve pitches up the middle or to right. A single on an 0-2 pitch by Rosario started the run-scoring inning in the sixth. Carrizales also singled on an 0-2 pitch in the seventh.

McCormick Field turf: Carrizales’ double in the third happened when Luke Tendler slipped and took out a hefty divot as he attempted to make a likely catch on the liner.  Carrizales eventually scored in the inning.

Game Story: Greensboro at Hickory July 16

The Hickory Crawdads put up five runs in the first inning and went on to wallop the Greensboro Grasshoppers 10-2 Thursday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

With the win, the Crawdads (54-35, 10-11 second half) took two out of three in the series that featured the South Atlantic League’s best team by overall record against the worst in Greensboro (35-55, 6-15).

The Crawdads will host Augusta Friday night in the start of a four-game series.

Jose Cardona started the offense by taking the second pitch from Michael Mader over the fence in left for his ninth homer of the season. One out later, Josh Morgan walked and Jose Trevino steered a Mader curveball into left. Luke Tendler raked a fastball into right for an RBI before Jairo Beras walked. That brought up Jonathan Meyer, who ripped a single off the mound and up the middle to score two. Juremi Profar finished the five-run, ten-hitter first inning with a double to right-center to make it 5-0.

Greensboro responded in the second as K.J. Woods doubled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Twine.

But the Crawdads tacked on two in the fourth to chase Mader (4-8). Trevino’s sacrifice fly scored Cardona, who had singled, and Tendler’s ground-rule double brought in Morgan.

Meyer’s bases-clearing double in the sixth finished off the scoring for the Crawdads.

Brett Martin (4-4) provided steady work on the mound. He matched his season-high with seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits. The lefty struck out five and surrendered three walks.

Chris Dula worked around two hit batsmen in the eighth and Shane McClain added a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the game for Hickory.

 

The Good:

Fastball jumping: The Crawdads took advantage of the inability of Mader to command the fastball in the first inning. Mader threw 24 fastballs in the opener with only 11 crossing the plate. Of the 11, six were put into play, four of those for hits. Seven of the eight hits surrendered by Mader came on fastballs.

Jose Cardona: He extended his hitting streak to seven straight (12-for-25) in the win, as well as RBI in the last four. Since the all-star break (20 games), Cardona has posted a .290/.386/.478 slash. He his punishing fastballs (both hits tonight come on heaters) with the ability to see off-speed pitches well and layoff them out of the strike zone.

Carlos Arroyo: Only a circus catch in centerfield kept him from his 15th multi-hit game out of his last 30. He has reached base in 11 straight games and is hitting .342 in the second half.

Josh Morgan: Continued to shows patience at the plate. Though hitless in the game, he walked and scored twice.

Jose Trevino: After pulling several pitches into outs on Tuesday, Trevino put up three hits on Thursday – none of which were struck well, but simply put into play where the pitch was made. He lined a hanging curve to left in the first, send a low and away fastball into right in the second, then sent up and away fastballs to center and right for a sac fly and a single.

Luke Tendler: Two more hits and a walk on Thursday, now has a .357/.420/.614 slash in the second half (15 games) and has reached base in 17 of his last 18 games.  It is almost impossible to get a fastball by him for now.

Jonathan Meyer: Hit the ball hard to all fields in the game. Had a hard single up the middle on a fastball in the first, drilled a fastball to CF in the third for a lineout. A seven-pitch AB ended in a deep drive to the track in left-center in the fourth. His double in the sixth on a high slider in the sixth went to the wall in right.

Brett Martin: After a tough outing in his last start at Lakewood, the lefty was steady over his seven innings. He threw 93-95 early and was still at 91-93 when tiring in the seventh. Said he stayed mostly with a changeup as an out pitch (6 missed bats with it).

The impressive thing was the poise. He rarely seems to get rattled by the surrounding circumstances. After giving up the double to Woods to lead off the second, he retired the next two in order – both on 1-0 fastballs away that were pulled for outs. After the first two reached in the fifth, Martin got a gift on bunt (down six at that point) by Mason Davis for an out, then needed two pitches – the second a changeup that got Zach Sullivan to pop to second – and then fanned John Norwood with strike three coming on a change.

Shane McClain: Now with 16 Ks/ 4 BBs in 11.1 innings, the lefty brings to mind Alex Claudio with the low-70s change and a mid-to-upper-80s fastball. Command of his fastball can be an issue but not on Thursday when he pitched a clean ninth and struck out two.

The Not-So-Good:

Chris Dula: Has hard stuff (95-96), but has no clue where it is going. He has walked or hit at least one batter in 11 straight outings (24 BBs or HBPs in 12 innings). Dula has just one clean relief outing in 25 appearances, which came when he struck out the only batter he faced on Mary 20

The Opposition:

Zach Sullivan made a brilliant catch in center off a drive from Arroyo in the second. He sprinted straight back into center before making a diving, over-the-shoulder catch. However in the fourth, is weak and off-line throw home on a Trevino’s shallow fly allowed Cardona to score easily as well as allowed Morgan to tip-toe to third.

Michael Mader: With the fastball difficulty noted earlier, it’s also interesting to see the home-road split of the lefty. Despite pitching in one of the friendlier hitter’s ballparks in the SAL, Mader has a 1.45 ERA in six games with a .189 OBA. On the road, he is 0-8 in 12 starts with a  8.23 ERA and a .325 OBA.

Dugout presence: It was interesting to note in the fourth inning the presence – or lack of – the teams in their dugouts. With Hickory in the field and the Grasshoppers at the plate, the dugout railing on the Hickory side was full. The Greensboro side might have had four or five persons at the rail.

Series Preview: Hickory at Lakewood July 8-12

The Hickory Crawdads (51-30 overall, 7-6 second half) make their second of three trips this season to FirstEnergy Park to take on the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws (39-42, 6-7) in a five-game series.

Probables (Hickory/ Lakewood):

Wednesday: Cody Buckel (RH, 0-2, 2.79) vs. Ranfi Casimiro (RH, 3-5, 3.51)

Thursday: Brett Martin (LH, 3-3, 2.73) vs. Austin Davis (LH, 0-2, 2.40)

Friday: Ariel Jurado (RH, 9-0, 2.15) vs. Elniery Garcia (LH, 6-6, 3.08)

Saturday: Collin Wiles (RH, 9-3, 2.29) vs. Shane Watson (RH, 0-1, 2.45)

Sunday: Austin Pettibone (RH, 1-1, 3.94) vs. Will Morris (RH, 0-0, 0.82)

Recent Series History:

Lakewood holds a 5-4 edge in the 2015 season series after taking three of five at Hickory to open the second half. The Crawdads and BlueClaws split the series at Lakewood in early June. Hickory is 32-30 since 2009 – the start of the affiliation with the Texas Rangers – and 18-18 on the road.

Entering the Series – Hickory:

The Crawdads took the first three games of the series at Greensboro before dropping the matinee Tuesday afternoon. Winners of six out of the last nine on the road, Hickory (23-15) currently holds the best road record in the South Atlantic League.

The team pitching ERA of 2.82 is nearly a half-run better than second-place Lakewood (3.29). However the BlueClaws bats battered Hickory pitching for 32 runs on 51 hits in the recent five-game series at L.P. Frans. Overall, the Crawdads pitching staff has surrendered the fewest hits, runs and earned runs in the SAL. They also have the lowest WHIP at 1.16.

At the plate, Hickory has reclaimed the top spot in the SAL with 61 home runs. They are third in slugging pct. (.384).

In the field, the Crawdads remain at the top of the SAL in fielding pct, having committed the fewest errors and turning the most double plays.

Entering the Series – Lakewood:

After winning three straight at Hickory, the BlueClaws are 3-6. They split a four-game series at home with Hagerstown over the weekend.

Lakewood will put the ball in play as the hitters taken the fewest walks and have the second fewest strikeouts in the SAL. The BlueClaws are second in doubles and third in hits. They are next to last in OBP (.312).

Players to watch- Hickory:

SP Ariel Jurado: Currently pitching in tandem with Yohander Mendez, Jurado is expected to start, but could be switched to the relief role. He is first in the SAL in WHIP (0.96), tied for second in wins (9) and fourth in ERA (2.15). Jurado has thrown only six innings in the second half and will likely be limited to around three innings for now. He currently has 60 Ks to just eight walks in 67 innings.

SP Collin Wiles: Having won six of his last eight starts, two of those have come against the BlueClaws over the last month (12,1 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). Opposing teams are hitting just .221 against Wiles. He is tied with Jurado with nine wins, is second behind Jurado in WHIP (1.00) and fifth in ERA (2.29)

SP Cody Buckel: After giving up nine baserunners in 2.2 innings against Lakewood on June 26, Buckel rebounded against Greenville with a three-hitter over six innings and struck out six to just one walk. SAL hitters are batting just .182 against Buckel, but he has thrown 16 walks and hit six batters in 29 innings.

SP Austin Pettibone: Has settled into the rotation nicely since gaining a permanent spot in late June. Spun a two-hitter over six innings against Greenville on June 30, then followed that up with a one-hitter through six at Greensboro before falling apart in the seventh for a no-decision.

RP Scott Williams: Has two wins and a save in the second half during which Williams has allowed one base runner (a solo homer) in seven innings and struck out 11. After sporting a 4.26 ERA in May, Williams has allowed two runs overall in 12.2 innings (8 appearances) on six hits and two walks with 17 Ks.

OF Luke Tendler: Arguably the hottest hitter in the lineup in the second half, Tendler is at .333/.375/.489 in the 12 games after the all-star break. He put up six RBI in the weekend series vs. Lakewood to open the second half and has a team-high of nine RBI against the BlueClaws this season. Tendler is tied for sixth in the SAL with 19 doubles.

C Jose Trevino: Has a .301/.322/.460 slash on the road compared to a .216/.252/.399 mark at home. He is off to a cool start in July (3-for-20) with all three hits coming at Greensboro on Saturday. Currently, Trevino is third in the SAL in homers (10) and tied for 11th in RBI (39).

OF Jose Cardona: Of current active players, Cardona has the highest avg. (.290) against the BlueClaws this season. Like Trevino, Cardona is off to a cool start in July and is three for his last 31 – two of the hits homers. His nine homers are tied for fourth in the SAL.

C Chuck Moorman: Joined the Crawdads at Greensboro, the 17th round pick of the Rangers in 2012 played two games at AAA Round Rock this season.

C-1B Jonathan Meyer: Had a six-game hitting streak (8-for-22) and a three-game RBI streak snapped in the shutout loss to Greensboro on Tuesday.

2B Carlos Arroyo: Currently in the midst of a three-game hitting streak (5-for-12) and has at least one hit in 17 of his last 22 games since going hitless in his first two games with the club.

OF Jairo Beras: Has begun to heat up again with hits in five straight games (7-for-18) before an 0-for-3 game on Tuesday. However, he has at least one strike out in seven straight (11 overall).

Players to watch- Lakewood:

SP Elniery Garcia: He has dominated the Crawdads in his two starts, having allowed two runs on nine hits over 13 innings with eight strikeouts. Garcia threw a four-hitter over seven innings against Hickory on June 28. He followed that up with a five-hitter over seven innings against Hagerstown in his last start. Garcia is ninth in the SAL in ERA (3.08) and WHIP (1.20).

SP Shane Watson: The first-round pick of the Phillies (Lakewood (CA) High) in 2012 missed all of 2014 with shoulder surgery and a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse violation to start this season. Watson allowed one run on seven hits over 3.2 innings in his first start for the BlueClaws on Sunday.

SP Will Morris: Former teammate of Evan Van Hoosier at College of Southern Nevada, the 24th-round pick of the Phillies in 2013 made the first start of his career last Monday against Hagerstown (5 IP, 2 H, 2 K). Morris had 51 relief appearances over three seasons before the start.

RP Joey DeNato: Was selected to the SAL All-Star Game. He is eighth in the SAL with 26 appearances.

CF Herlis Rodriguez: Has two SAL hitter-of-the-week awards and is arguably the best hitter on the team after the promotion of key teammates Carlos Tocci and Rhys Hoskins to high-A. Currently seventh in the SAL in slugging (.469) and tenth in RBI (41).

3B Damek Tomscha: Has ripped through Hickory pitching this season at a .370/.419/.556 clip with seven RBI and a homer. He put together four straight multi-hit games at the end of June, but is hitless in his last four games and is 2-for-21in his last six. Tomscha has 20 doubles, tied for third in the SAL.

1B Kyle Martin: The Phillies fourth-round pick out of South Carolina last month made his pro debut at Hickory. He has a .340/.365/.580 slash in 13 games since joining the BlueClaws with six multi-hit games.

LF Cord Sandberg: Was the third-round pick of the Phillies in 2013 out of Manatee (FL) High and is currently the No. 13 prospect in the organization. Sandberg with 10-for-21 against the Crawdads two weeks ago with four extra-base hits, five runs scored and five RBI.

2B Scott Kingery: The Pac-12 player of the year was the Phillies second-round draft pick a month ago. Like Martin, he made his pro debut at Hickory with two hits in the opener. Kingery finished 6-for-21 in the series with six runs scored. So far in July, he is 3-for-24 (.125).

Game story: Greenville at Hickory July 3

The Greenville (S.C.) Drive took advantage of three unearned runs – two of those in the seventh – to edge the Hickory Crawdads 4-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 4,623 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium on Friday.

The win by the Drive (43-36 overall, 5-4 second half) forged a split with the Crawdads by winning the final two games of the series.

Hickory (48-29) ended its second-half, opening homestand at 4-5. They travel to Greensboro Saturday to start a four-game road series before a five-game series in Lakewood, N.J.

 

What Happened?:

The Drive put up a run just three batters into the games. Yoan Moncada led off the game with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Bethea.

A botched pickoff contributed to Greenville’s second run in the second. After Mike Meyers singled and moved to second on Brett Martin’s wild pitch, a subsequent pickoff throw sailed into center to put Meyers at third. From there, Meyers scored on Bryan Hudson’s grounder to short.

The Crawdads cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third when Jose Cardona smacked his eighth home run of the season.

Later in the third, Josh Morgan and Jonathan Meyer each singled before Luke Tendler doubled in Morgan to tie the game.

It appeared in the fourth that in-climate weather might become an issue and the Crawdads took a step to claim a win just in case of a rain-shortened contest. Juremi Profar drilled a first-pitch fastball from Jalen Beeks over the wall in left to put Hickory on top 3-2.

The rain eventually stopped in the fifth and Martin settled in on the mound. He retired 12 in a row at one point and faced the minimum of 15 hitters over a five-inning stretch.

But the game fell apart for the Crawdads in the seventh. It started ominously as Martin walked Bethea on four pitches. The final pitch was in question as it appeared that home plate umpire Kyle Wallace had called time before ball four was delivered. But the pitch stood and Bethea went to first.

Nick Longhi botched a sacrifice bunt to force Bethea, but moved to second on Jonathan Meyer’s passed ball. The game changed with Martin struck out Meyers on a breaking ball in the dirt. The catcher Meyer missed tagging Meyers on the dropped third strike, and then on the ensuing throw to first airmailed the ball down the line in right. Longhi scored from second and Meyers wound up at third.

Martin got Carlos Mesa to ground out to first for the second out to hold the runner. Joe Filomeno was brought in to face Hudson, who greeted Filomeno with a run-scoring single that broke the tie.

The Crawdads last opportunity in the ninth came when Jairo Beras doubled and moved to third on a grounder. But Jamie Callahan got Profar to fly to right to end the game. He completed the three-inning save (1) in relief of Jalen Beeks (7-4), who threw the first six innings.

The Good:

Brett Martin: Had a rough start with his change as he left a 1-2 offering up that Moncada sent out for the triple. Left another one up to Meyers – again on 1-2 – that went for a single, which came back to bite him in a run scored.

Otherwise, it was the second-straight start in which Martin averaged around 11 pitches per innings. In his previous start last Saturday against Lakewood, Martin needed only 54 pitches to complete five innings. Friday night, he needed only 60 to get through six innings and with a quick seventh could have gone out for the eighth. However, his four-pitch walk likely squashed that idea.

Martin finished with 75 pitches (55 strikes), throwing first-pitch strikes to 16 of 24 hitters. His fastball ran in the 92-94 range. The opening inning aside, his change and a curveball in the 80-82 range contributed to quick outs on grounders. He had single-digit pitch totals of 10 or fewer in five of his seven innings.

Joe Filomeno: After a couple of liners to end the seventh, settled down to retire six of the last seven batters he faced. The lefty throws a lively 92-94 mph fastball that gets onto hitters quick, thought it can be straight . But it was the slider that missed bats on Friday (at least four in the last two innings).

Jose Cardona and Juremi Profar: Both mashed pitches that should be mashed. Cardona ripped a high change out of the park while Profar crushed a first-pitch fastball down the middle.

Josh Morgan: Back on track after an 0-for-5 night Thursday. Stayed with a change from Beeks for a bloop single in the third . Then added a sharp one-hopper to third on a fastball in the eighth for a single.

The Not-So-Good:

The offense: Has lost its way in manufacturing runs as of late. In the 40 innings vs. Greenville, the Crawdads scored only seven of them – three of those home run innings. Hickory had nine hits, but scored only three.

Jonathan Meyer: A tough night for the recent, free-agent signee, who is catching his first games as a pro this week. A wild pitch by Martin in the second likely should have been stopped as the short hop hit the glove. But his passed ball and throwing error on a dropped third strike in the seventh were huge.

It appeared that he panicked on the throwing play. Having collected the curveball in the dirt on the strikeout, Meyer tried to tag Meyers out of the box but missed the runner. Meyer quickly checked the runner at second before rushing his throw to first which went into the right-field corner.

The Opposition:

Jamie Callahan: The second-round pick of the Red Sox in 2012 (Dillon High, S.C.) showed a hammer of a 12-6 curveball (two Ks with it in the seventh) to go with a 93-95 heater. Jairo Beras squared up a fastball for a double just after Tendler lined one hard to right.

Yoan Moncada: Went 2-for-13 in the series – one of those hits a bloop single – with three strikeouts. Lined Martin’s high changeup to deep center and showed a good burst of speed to leg out the triple. None of the scouts I talked with were enamored with him. Other than maybe the speed on the triple and the ensuring run on the sac fly, there was nothing I saw that made me say, “I want to spend $31.5 million on him.” But he’s 20 and is still feeling his way in this country. There is a solid build in the 6-3, 205-pound (seems low) physique.