Results tagged ‘ Juremi Profar ’

SAL Championship celebration photos

I missed the clinching game, but I did get a few pics of the celebration and a snapshot with the SAL trophy.

Welcome to McCormick (Photo by Mark Parker)

Welcome to McCormick (Photo by Mark Parker)

SAL Game three lineup (photo by Mark Parker)

SAL Game three lineup (photo by Mark Parker)

Pedro Payano (center) and Kelvin Vasquez (R) celebrating the SAL title (photo by Mark Parker

Pedro Payano (center) and Kelvin Vasquez (R) celebrating the SAL title (photo by Mark Parker

Scott Williams (L) and Luke Tendler (photo by Mark Parker)

Scott Williams (L) and Luke Tendler (photo by Mark Parker)

Hitting coach Francisco Matos (L) and Eduard Pinto (photo by Mark Parker

Hitting coach Francisco Matos (L) and Eduard Pinto (photo by Mark Parker

(L to R) Eduard Pinto, Juremi Profar, Edwin Garcia, Michael DeLeon (photo by Mark Parker

(L to R) Eduard Pinto, Juremi Profar, Edwin Garcia, Michael DeLeon (photo by Mark Parker

Jose Trevino (L) and Mark Parker (photo by Mark Parker)

Jose Trevino (L) and Mark Parker (photo by Mark Parker)

Clubhouse celebration (photo by Mark Parker)

Clubhouse celebration (photo by Mark Parker)

MGR Corey Ragsdale addressing the players (L to R) Jairo Beras, Austin Pettibone, Nick Gardewine, Pedro Payano, Luke Tendler Edwin Garcia (photo by Mark Parker)

MGR Corey Ragsdale addressing the players (L to R) Jairo Beras, Austin Pettibone, Nick Gardewine, Pedro Payano, Luke Tendler Edwin Garcia (photo by Mark Parker)

(L to R) Collin Wiles, Brett Martin, Shane McCain (photo by Mark Parker)

(L to R) Collin Wiles, Brett Martin, Shane McCain (photo by Mark Parker)

Players back to front: Carlos Arroyo, Yohander Mendez, Ariel Jurado, Kelvin Vasquez, Eduard Pinto, Josh Morgan, Jose Cardona, (unknown), Luis Ortiz (photo by Mark Parker)

Players back to front: Carlos Arroyo, Yohander Mendez, Ariel Jurado, Kelvin Vasquez, Eduard Pinto, Josh Morgan, Jose Cardona, (unknown), Luis Ortiz (photo by Mark Parker)

A pic with the SAL trophy (photo by Mark Parker)

A pic with the SAL trophy (photo by Mark Parker)

SAL Championship Game 2 Story: Asheville at Hickory

For the second straight game, the Hickory Crawdads took an early lead. They then used five pitchers to shut down the Asheville Tourists 3-1 Tuesday night at L.P. Frans Stadium. The Crawdads now lead the best-of-five series 2-0. After a day off Wednesday. the remaining games shift to Asheville’s McCormick Field starting on Thursday with a game time at 7:05 p.m.

The Crawdads are seeking the club’s third SAL title, the first since 2004. Hickory also claimed the 2002 championship.

What Happened?:

Hickory put together four hits to score two in the second against Tourists starter Ryan Castellani. Edwin Garcia and Eduard Pinto sandwiched singles around a fly out. After Juremi Profar struck out, Carlos Arroyo slapped a soft liner into left to score Garcia. Castellani walked Jose Cardona to load the bases and then took a liner from Dylan Moore off the foot that scored Pinto.

In the fourth, Profar reached when Josh Fuentes’ throw short hopped Roberto Ramos at first. A sac bunt from Arroyo and Cardona’s single pushed Profar to third before he scored on Moore’s grounder to third.

Nineteen days after injuring his hip, Brett Martin returned to the hill and threw a brilliant start. He allowed just two hits and struck out four while pitching to just one over the minimum.

Facing Adam Dian, the Tourists put the first two on before a sac bunt put the runners at second and third. Cesar Galvez ripped a run-scoring single to score Roberto Ramos scoring on the play. After a mound visit by Oscar Marin, Dian got Yonathan Daza to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

The similar script played out in the sixth for the Tourists against reliever Shane McCain. A walk and hit batter put runners and first and second with one out. Again after a mound visit by Marin, McCain got Dom Nunez to roll into a 6-4-3 double play.

That set up Luis Ortiz to enter the game in the seventh and throw two scoreless innings of relief. He struck out three and allowed one hit to earn the scorer’s decision win.

Scott Williams hurled a perfect ninth to get his third save of the playoffs.

Martinized:

After a 19-day layoff, the unknown of what Brett Martin would provide on the mound was the story line prior to the game. It is fair to say that all is well with the 20-year-old as he retired the first seven hitters of the game and 11 of the 13 he faced.

“After the first throw I had in warmups, I knew I was going to be fine,” Martin said. “Everything felt right and was going well. The hip fell great and then I got up there on the mound and just relaxed and stayed calm and did what I know to do.”

His most dominant inning came in the second when he struck out the side – the last two on six pitches. By my count, Martin finished with 52 pitches, throwing 37 strikes. He missed 11 bats with the changeup especially effective, garnering six of the swing-and-misses (4 on fastballs at 91-93, 1 curve).

“I threw it a lot more playing catch the past three weeks that probably I have all season,” said Martin. “I’m just trying to get comfortable with that pitch again. I knew I was going to need it against them to keep them off balance.”

His dominance didn’t go unnoticed by manager Corey Ragsdale, who had said prior to the game Martin would be limited to four innings.

Said Ragsdale of Martin’s outing, “Wow! Coming back and throwing like that, that’s obviously huge setting the tone.”

Middle Management:

Unused in the playoffs prior to Tuesday night, Adam Dian and Shane McCain were put into a tight ball game following Martin’s brilliant work. Their job was simply to bridge the gap to Luis Ortiz in the seventh. The two relievers shook off the rust and made big pitches to get out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings.

Dian – eight days removed from his last appearance – was shaky at the start and it seemed the Tourists line was glad to see someone other than Martin. Roberto Ramos lined an 0-1 slider to right before Dian walked Josh Fuentes on four pitches.

“It didn’t start out the way that I wanted it to,” said Dian. “But I was pretty happy the way that I was able to work out of it and at least limit the damage. It’s pretty tough to pitch when you haven’t thrown in a while, but it’s not an excuse. I thought I made some good pitches off the bat, but I was up a little bit and they took advantage of that. “

After Galvez’s RBI single, Oscar Marin made a mound visit to help Dian gather himself.

“He just told me to take a deep breath and trust my stuff,” Dian said. “He was thinking that I was kind of letting the game get to me a little bit. It was speeding up; you get two runners on right off the bat and it’s a little tough for you to calm down and stay focused on what you need to do. He just wanted to give me a breather and make sure I had my mind straight before I faced that next hitter.”

Dian served up a 2-1 fastball away to Yonathan Daza to get the 4-6-3 double play and keep the Tourists at bay 3-1.

After 11 days off, lefty Shane McCain came in and also struggled at first with fastball command and then the slider in putting two men on.

“I was a little tight,” McCain said. “It did feel a little weird to be out there. I hadn’t been out there in a week or so, or maybe more. I really just had to trust my stuff. I was having trouble keeping my slider in the zone. That’s been my best pitch. I wasn’t able to start it where I wanted to, where I needed to.”

Another mound visit by Marin brought on an adjustment by McCain with the slider.

“I knew I had to start my slider more behind the lefthanders,” said McCain. “Once I did that, I got the two ground balls that I needed and luckily I got out of it.”

Facing LH hitter Dom Nunez with one out after the mound visit, McCain’s slider away was rolled to Edwin Garcia at short for the easy twin-killing.

“Those two guys right there, they went through the heart of the lineup,” said Ragsdale. “So, those two guys were huge for us tonight.”

Dian said that although he and McCain were both out of sorts after not pitching in a regular routine, they were still expected to do their jobs in the ball game.

Dian said, “That’s what Ragsdale asks of us, to come and to our job. It’s nice when you don’t have to have somebody come bail you out and you’re able to finish your inning. Obviously, it could’ve gone a number of different ways for both of us. I thought we both did a good job. We just gutted it out. We didn’t have our best stuff today, but we were able to minimize the damage. Shane did a hell of a job getting out of that situation.”

Ortiz Breaking Down Wall:

Luis Ortiz didn’t have the sharp command of his fastball, but he didn’t need to either. Omar Carrizales was able to expose that in the seventh when he worked the count full and then drilled a high slider for a single. Ortiz got out of the inning with no further damage.

Ortiz then cranked up the slider in the eighth, using three straight to fan Daza. He got away with a poorly placed fastball that Rogers lined hard to second to bring up Forrest Wall, the number 4 second base prospect in the minors (mlb.com). Ortiz struck out Wall on three pitches, swinging through a changeup, fastball and slider.

Domineering Williams:

After getting Shane Hoelscher to fly to right, Williams worked through a nine-pitch battle with Dom Nunez, finally getting him to undercut a high fastball that went lazily to right. A first-pitch slider to Ramos was rolled easily to second.

Moore and Moore:

Dylan Moore continues a strong playoff run with a couple of hits and an RBI. He stayed on Castellani’s slider in the first for a single, then was able to gear up for the fastball that was lined off Castellani’s foot for the RBI hit. Moore pulled off an away fastball in the fourth, but got enough on it to score the runner from third.

Castellani’s Early Struggles:

The 19-year-old threw a fastball that ranged 93-95 mph that at times had a slider look. However, he is a pitcher that relies on keeping the ball down (1.30 GO/AO) and the inability to do that early cost him. Six of the nine hits against him were hard liners with seven of his outs coming on liners or fly outs. He dodged a bullet in the fifth when Juremi Profar ripped a line drive that went straight to Fuentes at third. The catch likely saved two runs.

Defensive Woes Continue:

A lazy throw by Fuentes to first allowed Profar to reach and score in the fourth to make it a three-run lead. In the fifth with Beras at first, Pinto lifted a bloop single to left center. Beras running on contact made it easily to third, the left fielder Carrizales threw to third anyway, which allowed Pinto to move up to second.

Small Ball, Small Expectations:

Down two runs in the fourth, the Tourists got a base hit from Wes Rogers to start the inning. Rather than taking a chance with leading base stealer (46 steals) to try and get to second on his own, Asheville chose to use Wall – the number one draft pick and No. 4 second base prospect, who had a .288/.355/.438 slash as a 19-year-old – as a bunter. The sacrifice worked, but Rogers advanced no further.

In the fifth after the Tourists put the first two runners on, they chose to use their SAL all-star leftfielder – who as a 20-year-old posted a .286/.333/.410 slash and hit into one double play all year – as a bunter. The sacrifice was successful and a run was scored, but it also proved crucial when a double play ended the inning.

It seems to me those were opportunities for the Tourists to try and siphon some momentum by letting a player make a play. But managers manage to a fault at times and this appeared to be a case of overmanaging.

Shutting down the running game:

Not enough can be said as to how well the Crawdads during the series have shut down the running game of the Tourists, who stole 258 bases this season. The pitchers have been relentless at keeping the runners close and allowing the catcher Trevino to make plays. He’s thrown out both runners trying to steal in the series, including the lone attempt on Wednesday.

SAL Playoffs Game 2 Preview: West Virginia at Hickory

South Atlantic League Playoff Series

Game 2: West Virginia Power (87-52, 1-0 series lead) at Hickory Crawdads (81-57, 0-1)

Site/ Time: L.P. Frans Stadium, Hickory, N.C.

Game 1 Recap: The Power struck for three runs in the fifth inning and went on the capture a 4-2 home win. After Crawdads pitcher Yohander Mendez allowed two baserunners over 4.1 innings, a double by Chase Simpson and Taylor Gushue tied the game at 2. West Virginia added an unearned run in the inning, which scored on a wild pitch by Joe Filomeno on a dropped third-strike after fanning Michael Suchy with two outs. The Power tacked on the fourth run in the seventh on an error by 1B Carlos Arroyo. The Crawdads put seven baserunners on over the first five innings, but managed only a solo homer by Jairo Beras and an RBI groundout by Arroyo. The trio of Austin Coley Sam Street and Nick Neumann retied the final 13 Crawdads of the game.

Probables: WV: Stephen Tarpley (LH, 11-4, 2.48) vs. HKY: Ariel Jurado (RH, 12-1 2.48)

Lineup: WV: Kevin Newman-6, Pablo Reyes-4, Kevin Kramer-D, Michael Suchy-9, Jerrick Suiter-7, Elvis Escobar-8, Chase Simpson-5, Taylor Gushue-2, Connor Joe-3.

HKY: Eric Jenkins-7, Dylan Moore-4, Jose Trevino-2, Luke Tendler-D, Edwin Garcia-6, Jairo Beras-6, Juremi Profar-5, Carlos Arroyo-3, Jose Cardona-8.

Tarpley vs. Hickory: The lefty from Los Angeles made two starts against Hickory this season with mixed results. Back on June 21 in West Virginia, Tarpley allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Jose Trevino singled in a run in the first, a run that was unearned due to a passed ball. The Power took a 4-1 lead in that game before the Crawdads picked up a run in the fourth on Jose Cardona’s single. Tripp Martin’s double chased him in the sixth and the Crawdads eventually rallied later in the game for a 10-5 win.

Tarpley dominated the Crawdads in a start at L.P. Frans on August 15 when he shut down the Crawdads on three hits over eight shutout innings. The Crawdads lineup had difficulty solving a three-pitch mix as Tarpley recorded 16 groundball outs and threw 93 pitches (63 strikes).

In his last start at Kannapolis, Tarpley allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits and struck out three. He was named to Baseball America’s Low-A All-Star Team.

He features a low-90s fastball with some run into right-handed hitters. He can keep hitters off-stride with a slider and change.

 

Jurado vs. West Virginia: The right-hander from Aguadulce, Panama outdueled SAL pitcher of the year Yeudys Garcia in a 3-1 win back on May 19. In that start, Jurado allowed one unearned run on four hits and struck out three. The Power stranded runners in scoring position both in the first and second before tallying their only run of the game when Tyler Filliben singled and went to third on a throwing error. He scored on a sacrifice fly.

Jurado is coming off his worst performance of the season after giving up five runs (two unearned) on seven hits over three innings for his only loss of the season. Like Tarpley, he was named to Baseball America’s Low-A All-Star Team.

He features a hard sinker at 94 that runs to the back foot of right-handed hitters and also changes speeds well. Jurado can run a slider glove side and has had some success with a developing curveball.

Power hitters vs. Hickory: In game one, Pablo Reyes and Kevin Kramer (one walk) each doubled and were the lone Power hitters with two hits as the Crawdads held them to only six hits. Chase Simpson and Tyler Gushue homered.

Among active players, Elvis Escobar has the highest batting avg. vs. Hickory during the regular season at .355 (11-for-31). Jerrick Suiter went 6-for-18 (.333) and Kevin Newman went .286 (4-for-14).  Connor Joe hit only .200, but picked up eight walks in six games. All-star OF Michael Suchy had a team-high five RBI on four extra-base hits.

Crawdads hitters vs. West Virginia: In game one, Hickory piled up seven hits with Jairo Beras getting two. Eric Jenkins and Jose Trevino both doubled with Dylan Moore, Edwin Garcia and Juremi Profar singling.

Among active players during the regular season, Carlos Arroyo is the lone player hitting above .250 against West Virginia. Arroyo is 6-for-15 (.400) with a triple, a homer and two RBI. Beras and Garcia are at the .250 mark with Beras cranking a pair of homers to go with the one in game one. He leads the team with five RBI and Jose Trevino has four.

What to watch for: The Crawdads will have to figure out a way to solve Tarpley’s ability to change speeds and make him get pitches up… On the mound, if Jurado can put up his usual five innings-plus the Crawdads will have Tate and Ortiz available to bridge the gap to close Scott Williams (10 saves)… The Power like to play small ball (90 sac bunts) which could put pressure on an infield that has not played much together. 1B Carlos Arroyo had never played first as a pro until last weekend – a three-game career at the position – and Dylan Moore has six games with Hickory at second… Eric Jenkins at the top of the order and Jose Cardona at the bottom could give the Crawdads the chance to put some speed to use. Hickory was next to last in steals this season (Cardona had 30 of the 95), so the new toy of Jenkins speed could be a wrinkle that the Power has to contend with. As Hickory searches for offense against Tarpley, Jenkins ability to bunt to get on base – and get to second – could be key. Power catcher Tyler Gushue is next to last in the SAL in caught stealing (26.6%). Gushue led the SAL with 24 passed balls.

Hickory / West Virginia SAL Playoff & Game 1 Preview

South Atlantic League Playoff Series

Game 1: Hickory Crawdads (81-57) at West Virginia Power (87-52)

Site/ Time: Appalachian Power Park, Charleston, West Virginia

Crawdads Playoff History:  The Crawdads will make their tenth playoff appearance in 23 seasons since joining the South Atlantic League in 1993. It is the first appearance since 2011. This will be the third trip to the playoffs during the seven seasons the Crawdads have been affiliated with the Texas Rangers.

Hickory has won two SAL championships, both coming during the affiliation of the club with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002 and 2004.  The Crawdads have not won a series since claiming the title in 2004, nor have they won a playoff home game since the clincher of that series.

Power Playoff History: West Virginia has made seven playoffs appearances since staring South Atlantic League play in 1987. The lone SAL title came in 1990 as the Charleston Wheelers – a Reds affiliate – swept the Savannah Cardinals in three straight. This is the fourth playoff appearance under the name of the West Virginia Power (beginning in 2005), the second as a Pirates affiliate (2013), which began in 2009.

Hickory/ West Virginia Playoff History: The Crawdads defeated the Charleston Alley Cats (Blue Jays) in two straight in the first round of the 2004 playoffs. The clincher of the 2004 sweep was the final game played at Watt Powell Park in Charleston.  West Virginia (Brewers) took a 2-1 first-round series win in 2007.

How Hickory Got Here: The Crawdads led the first-half Northern Division chase wire-to-wire, eventually finishing with a 44-24 mark, 7 ½ games ahead of second-place West Virginia.

How West Virginia Got Here: The Power bullied the SAL in the second half and finished 50-20. It was the first time a SAL club had 50 half-season wins since Augusta turned the trick in 2007. West Virginia finished ten games ahead of second-place Delmarva in the second half and 13 games ahead of fourth-place Hickory.

Game 1 Pitching matchup: Hickory-Yohander Mendez (LH, 3-3, 2.44) vs. West Virginia- Austin Coley (RH, 16-6, 3.66)

Hickory Pitching:

Mendez: After pitching in a piggyback arrangement with Ariel Jurado much of the season, Mendez split off on his own late in the season. After allowing more than two runs just once in his first 19 outings, the lefty gave up four in five innings to Greensboro on August 23 and five to Delmarva in 3.1 innings on September 1 to close out the regular season. He gave up one homer in each of those outings, the only long balls he allowed this season. Mendez finished the season with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. SAL hitters batted .230 against Mendez in 2015. His struck out 74 and walked 15 in 66.1 innings. Against West Virginia in 2015, Mendez allowed one unearned run on three hits, two walks and struck out seven in eight innings (two appearances, one start).

Relievers: Scott Williams likely will get the first look for a save situation. The right-hander picked up ten saves in the second half and built a 40-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31.1 innings in the second half. In three outings vs. the Power in 2015, Williams allowed one run – a homer to Michael Suchy on June 19, on three hits and struck out two over four innings… Joe Filomeno gave up two runs to the Power late in a game on August 16… Shane McCain was roughed up in an outing vs. West Virginia on August 15 (2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K…Having not pitched since September 2, it would not be unusual to see 2015 first-rounder Dillon Tate get an inning in the middle of the game.  Manager Corey Ragsdale indicated that Tate and Luis Ortiz would be available for action in the series… Adam Dian (5 saves) threw an inning on Monday’s win. He has pitched out of the pen on one day’s rest just once.

West Virginia pitching:

Coley: The 23-year-old right-hander made all 27 starts this season and seemed to finish strong as he allowed one earned run in each of his last four starts (26 innings). Coley has showed good command with 111 Ks to just 25 walks in 147.2 innings. A fly ball pitcher, – He holds a 0.88 GO/AO ratio – Coley is susceptible to the long ball, having allowed a SAL-high 18 this season. The Crawdads touched him up for three in a loss back on August 14. Hickory has had perhaps the best luck against the 16-game winner tagging him for 20 hits over 11 innings in two starts. Among Crawdads hitters, Carlos Arroyo is 4-for-6 this season with a homer and Luke Tendler has doubled and homered in four plate appearances. Jairo Beras went 2-for-2 with a double.

Relievers: Nick Neumann is the Power close with 17 saves in 19 chances. He threw two perfect innings against Hickory this season, both coming in the first half… Other key relievers will likely include Sam Street, Jared Lakind and Julio Vivas. Of the trio, only Lakind (1 IP) has faced Hickory this year.

Hickory lineup:

Late season injuries to Josh Morgan and Michael De Leon put the Crawdads into a mix-and-match mode on the infield. Catcher Jose Trevino and third baseman Juremi Profar are the two likely certainties around the diamond. Ragsdale indicated that Edwin Garcia will likely play short and newcomer Dylan Moore will place second. Carlos Arroyo, who played second most of the season, was stationed at first the final two games of the season and handled the position without a problem. With his output against Coley (4-for-6) this season, and his success against the Power this season Arroyo may get the first look with Chuck Moorman and Jonathan Meyer available off the bench. Arroyo is the lone active Crawdads player to hit over .300 (6-for-15) against the Power in 2015.

In the outfield, the arrival of 2015 second-round Eric Jenkins gives Ragsdale a different wrinkle in the lineup with his speed. He went 7-for-18 during his five-game audition last week and he may well have earned some at bats in the series. The likely lineup will be Luke Tendler in left, Jose Cardona in center and Jairo Beras in right. Tendler ended his season fourth in the SAL in RBI and total bases. Beras had a pair of homers and five RBI during a mid-June series in Charleston. However, he went 0-for-7 against the Power in August. Eduard Pinto may get a look at first on in the DH slot.

Power lineup:

The Power had only 18 position players on their roster this season with eight players taking the field for 99 or more games (Hickory has three in the expected lineup, though Pinto has 98 games). The team finished the season at the top of the SAL with a .269 batting average and a .347 on-base percentage. It’s a team that will play classic National League small-ball (90 sacrifices) to scratch out runs for what has been a shutdown pitching staff. They are very patient at the plate. West Virginia leads the SAL in walks and has the second fewest strikeouts this season.

Behind the plate will likely be Taylor Gushue with Connor Joe – the Pirates No. 29 prospect (mlb.com) at first. Pablo Reyes and 2015 first-round pick Kevin Newman will play second and short respectively. Rounding out the infield at third will likely be Tyler Filliben, who has filled in for the injured Jordan Luplow.

A talented group is stationed in the outfield with SAL all-star Michael Suchy starting in right. Suchy, the fifth-round pick of the Pirates in 2014, finished the season second in the SAL in runs scored and in RBI.

A combination of Tito Polo, Elvis Escobar and Jerrick Suiter split up left and center, with Suiter getting many of the DH starts.  Suiter and Esocbar finished fifth and eighth in the SAL in batting avg. with Escobar third in hits.

Against the Crawdads, Escobar hit .355 (11-for-31) to lead the team among active players. The injured Luplow had two of the five homers struck against Hickory and he is tied with Suchy with five RBI.

Other things to know: This is likely to be a pitching-and-defense series. Hickory and West Virginia finished tied with the fewest errors committed in the SAL and went 1-2 in WHIP. The Crawdads finished second in ERA (3.19) with the Power fourth at 3.38…  Defending bunts had been a downfall for the Crawdads prior to their injuries and against a team that likes small ball, the revamped defensive alignment – especially with the likelihood of inexperience at first – could be a point worth watching… Both teams expect to win when they score first. The Crawdads went 54-14 when scoring first – tops in the SAL – and West Virginia was 59-16, which was second… Hickory has held up well under pressure as it was 71-4 when leading or tied after seven innings. In one-run games, the Crawdads are 27-16 with the Power at 19-22.

Game Story Charleston at Hickory August 29

Jose Trevino cracked a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth and then Jairo Beras threw out the game-tying run at the plate to end the game as the Hickory Crawdads held on to defeat the Charleston RiverDogs  5-4 in front of 3,423 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium

What Happened:

Charleston got off to a quick start against Crawdads starter Brett Martin when Devyn Bolasky started the game with a single and Angel Aguilar homered (3) to left to give the RiverDogs a 2-0 lead.

Hickory took the lead after scoring three in the second against RiverDogs hurler David Palladino.  Beras started it with his ninth home run of the season. After the Crawdads loaded the bases, Michael De Leon’s single scored Juremi Profar and Eduard Pinto.

An error helped the RiverDogs get even in the fifth. Ryan Lindemuth doubled, stole third and scored when catcher Jose Trevino’s throw went into left. Martin left the game in the inning with a hip injury and his replacement Shane McCain retired nine of the first ten hitters he faced going into the eighth.

But in the eighth, the RiverDogs pieced together three hits after two outs with Isisas Tejeda’s run-scoring single bringing in Austin Aune to put Charleston ahead 4-3.

Hickory retook the lead when Edwin Garcia lined a single to right and Trevino delivered a towering homer (14) to left on a fastball by Brady Koerner.

Facing closer Scott Williams, the RiverDogs threatened to retake the lead in the ninth. Collin Slaybaugh singled and went to second on a passed ball. Ryan Lindemuth walked and Bolasky’s sacrifice moved the runners to second and third before Aguilar was walked to intentionally walked to load the bases.  Billy Fleming hit a fly ball to Jairo Beras in medium-shallow right. Beras backed up and made the catch before firing a strike to Trevino at the plate to nail Slaybaugh and end the game.

The Good:
Jurickson Profar
had a single in four trips to the plate with the lone single coming on a change up and away in the first. He was hit by a pitch in the second, bounced to second in the fifth and struck out in the eighth.

Jairo Beras jumped a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball by Palladino and lasered a rope off the batter’s eye. The only question was would the liner be high enough to clear the fence. In looking to make the play, centerfielder Bolasky jogged three steps back before the ball found its target. His throw to end the game was directly on target to Trevino, who had plenty of time to tag Slaybaugh.

Shane McCain used a low-70s change, curveball and an upper 80s fastball to keep the RiverDogs off-balance, as he struck out four of the first six batters he faced. He found a little bad luck with two outs in the eighth when Austin Aune’s soft liner found open grass in center. McCain got away with a fastball up to Vicente Conde that was singled in front of Pinto in left. Tejeda’s seeing-eye single past McCain and second baseman Arroyo scored Aune for the brief lead.

Michael De Leon started a brilliant double play in the third that allowed Martin to complete a shutdown inning and hold the lead for the moment. With runners on the corners and one out, Joey Falcone hit a sharp grounder to De Leon’s right. De Leon made the backhanded grab, quickly fed the ball to Carlos Arroyo at second, who then made the fast turn and throw to nab the speedy Falcone. (Falcone left the game following the game with an undisclosed injury.)

Juremi Profar had a couple of singles and scored a run in the second. However, a key defensive play in the eighth kept the RiverDogs from extending their lead. After Tejada’s single scored the go-ahead run, Profar cut off the throw from Jose Cardona in center and caught Conde in a rundown trying to go to third.

Brett Martin gave up seven hits in 4.2 innings, but many of those were of the bad-luck variety. Bolasky’s leadoff hit in the first was a high chopper to third. The homer by Aguilar and his double in the third appeared to be pitches down and away that Aguilar went after and golfed to left. Tejeda added a broken-bat bloop single in the fourth. Martin retired seven in a row at one point (four grounders and a K) and finished with 63 pitches (45 strikes).

The Not-So-Good:

Jose Trevino had a rough night behind the plate committing two throwing errors on steal attempts and a passed ball. Both off-target throws appeared rushed in order to catch runners that took big jump against Martin.  His passed ball in the ninth may have been on a pitch from Williams in which he was crossed up, as the two had a meeting following the play.

Carlos Arroyo stuck out three times on Friday after a two-K game on Thursday. He appears to be expanding the strike zone and unable to catch up to fastballs in the zone.

Scott Williams gave up a ground single to Slaybaugh on a fastball down and in. However, he compounded the inning with a four-pitch walk to number-nine hitter Lindemuth. His slider didn’t have the usual bite and was ignored by hitters.

The Opposition:

Angel Aguilar, as stated earlier, went down to get a couple of pitches and hit both hard for extra bases. He had four straight hits over a two-game span and his hot streak clearly played into Charleston’s decision in the ninth to have Bolansky sacrifice with no outs after a four-pitch walk and Hickory’s decision to intentionally walk Aguilar.

David Palladino struck out three and gave up eight hits (four in the eighth), but showed good stuff throughout. His fastball hovered around 94-95 much of the game, but it was a tight slider that missed bats and often kept the Crawdads off stride with walk contact.

Philip Walby had the best stuff of any pitcher on both sides when he threw a 1-2-3 seventh. His fastball stayed 98-99 with a high 80s, biting slider. As dominant as he threw (10 pitches, 8 strikes, 4 missed bats), I was surprised that he didn’t come back out for the eighth.

Brody Koerner, the native of nearby Concord, changed speeds well with a leadoff strikeout of Jurickson Profar in the eighth. However, two straight fastballs up to Edward Garcia (single) and Trevino (homer) turned out to be the decisive point of the game.

Game story: Hagerstown at Hickory July 31

The Crawdads posted an 8-2 lead before hanging on late to a 9-6 win over the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns Friday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Hickory (63-39 overall, 19-15 second half) has now won 7-of-8, while the Suns (50-51, 15-19) have lost 12-of-18.

What Happened?:

Here is my game story from the pages of the Hickory Daily Record.

http://www.hickoryrecord.com/sports/crawdads-stave-off-hagerstown-rally-pick-up-home-victory/article_fc3c0642-37fb-11e5-b4ed-6331b48def09.html

The Good:

The lineup: All nine hitters had at least one hit with Jose Trevino and Juremi Profar getting at least two. Hickory, especially the right-handers, continues to be pitched to on or just off the outside corner of the plate. For the most part, the hitters have been able to discern balls/ strikes –and attack or lay off appropriately – or it pitches up the middle or away.

The few pitches that made their way over the inner half of the plate were hammered hard. None of the Suns trio of pitchers (Dave Van Orden, Luis Torres or Andrew Cooper) were able to present breaking pitches often enough to keep Crawdads hitters off stride, so it was easy pickings at times.

 

Jairo Beras: Read this.

https://crawdadsbeat.com/2015/08/01/jairo-beras-is-figuring-it-out-and-its-exciting/

 

Xavier Turner: His first two games with Hickory have certainly had its moments. In his first game last week at Asheville, he reportedly dislocated his shoulder on the first play of the first inning.

Returning from the disabled list, Turner crushed a fastball to medium left-center. Thinking triple out of the box, he caught sight of Corey Ragsdale’s stop sign after rounding the bag at second. As he put the brakes on, he slipped and stumbled. With the throw coming into the second behind him, Turner made it to third and slid around the tag of 3B David Masters.

At 6-1, 205 the Rangers 19th round pick showed good speed on the basepaths. He handled both plays in the field without concerns.

Juremi Profar: Had a pair of doubles, both on off-speed pitches away, and would’ve had a third if not for a brilliant catch in right by Dale Carey on a leaping dive on the track.

7th inning ABs: Facing reliever Luis Torres, Josh Morgan spoiled fastball after fastball away before succumbing on a fastball low and in on the tenth pitch. Eduard Pinto then worked a nine-pitch AB into a walk, again spoiling a bushel (correct term?) of fastballs. Able to watch this sequence, Jose Trevino spit on a fastball off the plate and then crushed the next one out of the park in left.

Yohander Mendez: Fastball command was a bit spotty, but he showed good arm action with the changeup that baffled the Suns hitters all night. Had 12 missed bats in 4.2 innings, all but two by my count coming on offspeeds. Didn’t use the curve as much on Friday, and what he did use was a bit loopy. But the change was definitely on. Finished at 77 pitches (49 strikes).

Scott Williams: For me the pitcher that has taken the largest step forward in the second half is Williams. Friday night was mostly fastballs with an occasionally slider mixed it. Fastball 94-96 has life but the biggest thing is simply confidence to attack hitters with it.

The Not-So-Good:

Chris Dula: A hit batter on the first pitch of the eighth, a single and two walks made Dula’s night a short one. Fastball is 94-96, but there is no control as to where it is going. Have to wonder if it at some point he makes a trip to Arizona.

 

Ariel Jurado: Just never looked comfortable all night. He usually is a get the ball and let’s go kind of pitcher, but on Friday there was much more walking around the mound than I recall. Fastball seemed a tick down and did not have the usual precision, as he walked two in an appearance for only the second time this season.

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: Notes and Quotes Augusta at Hickory July 20

The Augusta GreenJackets behind a strong start from pitcher Sam Coonrad shut down the Hickory Crawdads 3-1 Monday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The two teams split the four-game series with Hickory (56-37 overall, 12-13 second half) taking the first two games before the GreenJackets (46-48, 13-12) won the final two games.

What Happened?:

The right-handed Coonrad (6-3) – currently the 27th-ranked prospect of the San Francisco Giants by mlb.com – struck out six and allowed just one unearned run over eight innings. He retired the first 14 batters before Jairo Beras legged out a chopper behind the mound. Coonrod needed only 92 pitches before turning the game over to Carlos Diaz, who needed only eight pitches to retire the side for his second save.

The GreenJackets scored all they needed in the fourth against Nick Gardewine (5-7). Aramis Garcia crushed his 14th homer of the season, a solo blast over the fence in left.

Jonah Arenado then singled to center and scored on Skyler Ewing’s double to the wall in center.

An odd series of sequences led to the GreenJackets final run of the game in the fifth. With one out, Richardo Rodriguez hit an 0-2 fastball from Kelvin Vasquez to right. Johneshwy Fargas squibbed a slow roller behind the mound. Second baseman Brallan Perez fielded the play and made the quick throw to first for the out with Rodriguez going to second. The next batter, Travious Relaford, hit a sharp comebacker to Vasquez, who deflected the ball to shortstop Juremi Profar. Relaford beat the play at first with Rodriguez coming all the way home to score.

Hickory’s lone run came after two were out in the eighth. Profar bounced a single just over the glove of Jonah Arenado at third and then scored when first baseman Chase Compton misplayed Rock Shoulders’ roller for an error.

The Good:

Luke Tendler: Was the lone Crawdads hitter to square up Coonrad when he turned on a fastball and sent it to the rightfield corner. Had the best battle of the night with a 9-pitch AB in the second that ended in a flyout to center.

Scott Williams: Struck out three in the ninth, missing four bats – three on fastballs – in the inning. Pounded the strike zone at 94-96, struck out Compton on a slider.

Erik Swanson: Pitched a scoreless eighth inning, with a seeing-eye single to Jonah Arenado. Fastball 91-92 with a slider that Skyler Ewing tried to pull, which ended in a 5-3 grounder.

Juremi Profar: The second-straight, strong defense game. Showed a quick glove-to-hand transfer when he fielded a quick short-hop of the bat of Johneshhy Fargas and turned it into a 6-4-3 double play.

The Not-So-Good:

Lineup: A tough night for the lineup against Coonrad. Only three balls went to the outfield before Tendler’s rope in the eighth.

Nick Gardewine: The Crawdads right-hander actually had a groove at times. Lost command of the fastball briefly in the first, then settled in to a comfort level in the second and third. Garcia attacked a get-me-over fastball from Gardewine for the homer. Gardewine then left back-to-back sliders up that Arenado and Ewing punished.

Kelvin Vasquez: Threw 95-97 during his three innings of work. Let an 0-2 fastball catch the plate that Rodriguez dunked into right to set up the final insurance run.

 

The opposition:

Sam Coonrod: Methodically kept the Crawdads off balance throughout the night. Threw mostly 4-seamers in the opening innings that were 94-96, touching 98. The second time through the order was reserved for a two-seamer (91-93), or what Coonrod called a short-slider. Both pitches were kept down, which the Crawdads hitters – unable to time either pitch selection – beat into the ground. Coonrad offered a couple of sliders, but he didn’t really need to pull out much in the way of secondaries. Tendler saw a good many of the sliders in his second AB – a 9-pitch appearance that ended when he sent a 95 mph to center.

Coonrod finished with 92 pitches (65 strikes), but started to tire in the eighth as he started leaving pitches up.

Aramis Garcia: Crushed a fastball middle-in for the solo homer. Showed a willingness to take pitches the other way, as the Crawdads pitchers kept the ball away from him throughout the night.

Jonah Arenado: Made a couple of tough short-hop plays to keep Coonrod’s fledgling perfect-game bid alive. Spanked a slider up from Gardewine for a single and showed good speed coming around to score from first on Ewing’s double to right-center. Didn’t have the best luck at the plate this weekend, especially on Sunday when he lined hard to third and to the mound in back-to-back ABs. Showed quick hands throughout the series.

Quotes:

Coonrod when asked about using the two-seamer the second time through the order:

“I started thinking they might have been cheating a little bit with the fastball, so I threw a few more sliders.”

Coonrod when asked about whether he could’ve pitched the ninth.

“I was definitely hoping to get through the ninth, but whatever they say is best.”

Coonrod on Beras’ infield single in the fifth that ended a possible perfect-game bid.

“It aggravated me a little bit but it’s like you’ve got to move on.”

Crawdads manager Corey Ragsdale on Coonrod:

“He was pretty good, but we didn’t really help ourselves or come out. It didn’t seem like we came out ready to play, to be honest. Not a lot of energy tonight. It didn’t look like we had a lot of fight, to be honest. We kind of challenged them there after the game moving forward. Obviously, he did have good stuff going on and that made it for easy work when we didn’t put up much of a fight.”

Series Preview: Hickory at Greensboro July 4-7

The Hickory Crawdads (48-29 overall, 4-5 second half) make their second of three trips this season to NewBridge Bank to take on the Greensboro Grasshoppers (31-47, 2-7) in a four-game series.

Probables (Hickory/ Greensboro):

Saturday: Yohander Mendez (LH, 0-1, 1.03) vs. Tyler Kolek (RH, 4-4, 4.65)

Sunday: Collin Wiles (RH, 8-3, 2.36) vs. Luis Castillo (RH, 3-3, 3.04)

Monday: Austin Pettibone (RH, 1-1, 3.86) vs. Michael Mader (LH, 3-7, 5.43)

Tuesday: Nick Gardewine (RH, 4-5, 4.20) vs. Ben Holmes (LH, 2-5, 5.25)

Recent Series History:

The Crawdads are 5-1 against Greensboro in 2015, including a 2-1 series win at NewBridge Bank Park. Since the Hickory Crawdads – Texas Rangers affiliation began in 2009, the Grasshoppers (Miami Marlins affiliate) hold a 49-45 advantage. Greensboro is 47-31 against the Crawdads since NewBridge Bank Park opened in 2005.

Entering the Series:

The Crawdads finished a disappointing 4-5 home stand by dropping the final two games to Greenville. The lineup continues to mount inconsistent run-production. During the last 77 innings of the home stand, the Crawdads scored in just 12 of them. The bullpen is still sorting itself out in the wake of promotions and the insertion of two members into the rotation. After opening the season 42-0 when leading or tied after seven innings, Hickory dropped two such games last week, including its first when leading after eight.

Greensboro (18-16 at home) lost the first six straight of the second half before taking two of the last three at Hagerstown (Md.). The Grasshoppers have struggled to score runs, posting 23 in nine games. However in an offensive-friendly ballpark, the Grasshoppers have a .272/.321/.409 slash (.223/.294/.302 road) at NewBridge Park as well as 30 of their team’s 44 homers. For the season, the Grasshoppers have been shut out a South Atlantic League-high 11 times.

Players to watch- Hickory:

SP Yohander Mendez: Gave up his first earned runs of the year in his last start (2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER vs. Lakewood) before a benches-clearing incident abbreviated his turn. Has made only two starts with a high of three innings. Mendez has 40 strikeouts and seven walks in 26.1 innings with only 23 baserunners allowed.

SP Collin Wiles: He continues to knife through South Atlantic League competition. Currently leads the SAL in fewest baserunners allowed (67 in 63.1 innings). He is third in OBA (.225), fourth in WHIP (1.05), and fifth in ERA (2.36). Wiles has not faced the Grasshoppers this season.

RP Ariel Juado: Will pitch on the back end of a piggyback with Mendez for now. He leads the SAL in WHIP (0.94), is third in ERA (2.11) and fifth in OBA (.228). He has 14 Ks in 13 innings versus the Grasshoppers this season.

RP Erik Swanson: For now, it appears that he will get looks to close out games. He earned the save vs. Lakewood on June 29 (2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K), but then gave up a run-tying hit in the ninth inning Thursday vs. Greenville. He went on to strike out four over three scoreless innings.

RP Joe Filomeno: Has also been given key late-game situations during the second half. He gave up three runs on four hits in his first save opportunity on June 27 vs. Lakewood, then threw two scoreless outings (4.1 innings) in the series with Greenville.

2B Carlos Arroyo: Went 0-for-4 in Friday night’s game, but hitting .303/.324/.485 in the second half. He has hits in 14 of his last 19 games, seven of those multi-hit games.

UT Juremi Profar: Currently in the midst of a five-game hitting streak (7-for-19). Crashed his first homer of the season on Friday.

CF Jose Cardona: Is 3 for his last 17, but two of the hits were homers. Cardona is the lone player on the current roster who has homered against the Grasshoppers and is hitting .346 in six games.

Players to watch- Greensboro:

SP Tyler Kolek: The 2014 first-round pick (second overall) of the Marlins is currently the 21st best overall prospect (mlb.com) and the eighth-best RHP. The Marlins have limited him to more than four innings in just seven of 14 starts, though one of those was five shutout innings against Hickory in late April. Has just 40 Ks in 62 innings with 28 walks and 14 wild pitches.

SP Michael Mader: The Marlins third-round selection in 2014 (Chipola College) is the Marlins No. 12 prospect. Mader is third in the SAL with 39 walks in 71.1 innings (15 starts). He walked five and allowed six hits in 3.2 innings during his lone start against Hickory. Mader four-hit Hagerstow over six innings in his last start.

RP Josh Hodges: The closer (7th round, 2009) for the Grasshoppers is second in the SAL in games finished and has ten of the team’s 19 saves. Has posted 42 Ks in 38.1 innings and a 1.17 ERA.

C Arturo Rodriguez: Was the starting catcher for the Northern Division in the SAL all-star game. Hit .406 in April, but just .248 in May and .261 in June. He has just 6 hits in 32 at bats in the second half. Rodriguez blasted two homers against Hickory this season.

SS Justin Twine: The athletic Twine was the second round pick of the Marlins in 2014. A quarterback in high school (had a scholarship to Baylor) and won a gold medal in long jump in the Texas state championship. The Marlins 11th best prospect (mlb.com) is looking to transfer his athleticism to the baseball field. Currently carrying a .186/ .211/.277 slash, Twine is 5-for-25 against Hickory with a double and a triple, but with 10 Ks

LF Austen Smith: Started in the SAL All-Star Game is second in the league with 12 homers and fifth in slugging (.481). Smith is batting .207 (6-for-29) in nine games to start the second half.

RF John Norwood: Is 9-of-20 in his last five games.

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.