Results tagged ‘ Matt Whatley ’

Series Preview: Hickory Crawdads at Kannapolis May 3-6

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (19-7, 2nd Northern Division)

Kannapolis Intimidators (Chicago White Sox) (10-15, 6th Northern Division)

The Hickory Crawdads continue a weeklong homestand with a four-game series against the Kannapolis Intimidators at Intimidators Stadium.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: From Hickory, take Hwy 321 South to Gastonia, then I-85 North to Exit 63 (Lane Street). Turn left. Ballpark is on the right.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Friday: 7:00 p.m. (Piedmont Boll Weevils Night, Baseball Card Strip Giveaway to first 1,000 fans)

Saturday: 7:00 p.m. (Star Wars Night, Postgame Fireworks)

Sunday: 3:00 p.m. (Cinco de Mayo, Kids Run the Bases)

Monday: 7:00 p.m.

TICKETS: Prices in advance range from $7 for general admission to $9 for reserve, $2 less for children. Add $2 on gameday.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

Hickory took two out of three during a series at L.P. Frans to open the home season in early April. The Crawdads went 14-9 against Kannapolis in 2018, but the Intimidators defended their home turf by winning six of 9 there.

PROBABLES (Hickory/ Kannapolis)

Friday: RHP Grant Wolfram vs. Jonathan Stiever

Saturday: LHP John King vs. LHP Taylor Varnell

Sunday: RHP Tim Brennan vs. RHP Davis Martin

Monday: RHP Yerry Rodriguez vs. LHP Konnor Pilkington

 

ABOUT HICKORY

The Crawdads continued their early-season domination on the road with a three-game sweep at Greenville this week. Hickory is 10-3 on the road and have won all four series played at visiting stadiums. The Crawdads have also won seven of eight series and tied the other one 2-2 with Lakewood last weekend.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 80 in top-100)

SS Chris Seise No. 12

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

C Sam Huff No. 21

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley or Sam Huff; 1B Curtis Terry; 2B Frainyer Chavez or Jonathan Ornelas; 3B Sherten Apostel; SS Chris Seise; OF LF: Miguel Aparicio; CF: Pedro Gonzalez; RF: Jose Almonte.

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 2nd homers (7), 9th slugging pct. (.579), tied for 10th runs (16).

Sam Huff –1st homers (13), 1st slugging pct. (.820), 1st OPS (1.189), 1st total bases, tied for 2nd RBI (23), tied 3rd runs (20), tied for 8th hits (29).

Jonathan Ornelas – 7th batting avg. (.348), 8th on-base pct. (.423).

Chris Seise – 2nd caught stealing, tied for 2nd triples (3), tied for 10th steals (6), tied for 10th strikeouts.

Curtis Terry – 1st doubles (13), tied for 2nd RBI (23), 5th total bases, 5th slugging pct. (.606), tied for 5th homers (6).

Matt Whatley – Tied for 3rd walks.

Individual pitching:

Hans Crouse – Tied for 10th WHIP (0.86), tied for 9th hit batters.

Yerry Rodriguez – 6th ERA (1.71)

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.239 (5th)/ .308 (8th)/ .429 (1st)/ .736 (2nd).

Other key rankings: 1st total bases, tied for 1st home runs, 2nd total bases, 4th stolen bases, 4th runs.

Team Pitching: fewest runs allowed, fewest hit batters, fewest walks allowed, 2nd ERA (2.77), 2nd WHIP (1.10), fourth fewest home runs allowed

 

ABOUT KANNAPOLIS:

The Intimidators were swept in a three-game series at home by Charleston (S.C.) and overall they have lost five of seven. Kannapolis is 4-8 at home in 2019.

Manager: Ryan Newman (1st season)

Prospects – Kannapolis (rankings by MLB.com):

LHP Konnor Pilkington No. 20

3B Bryce Bush No. 21

RHP Jonathan Stiever No. 27

Possible Lineups: C: Evan Skoug or Gunnar Troutwine; 1B: Amado Nunez; 2B: Ramon Beltre; 3B: Bryce Bush or Luis Curbelo; SS: Lenyn Sosa; LF: Alex Destino or Romy Gonzalez; CF: Ian Dawkins; RF: Logan Sowers

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Ramon Beltre – Tied for 2nd triples (3)

Bryce Bush – Tied for 6th triples (2)

Luis Curbelo – Tied for 6th strikeouts, tied for 8th RBI (18), tied for 10th doubles

Ian Dawkins – 4th stolen bases (8), tied for 6th doubles (9), 10th hits

Individual pitching:

Jason Bilous – Tied for 6th hit batters

Davis Martin – 1st home runs allowed (9), 2nd earned runs allowed, tied for 2nd runs allowed, tied for 3rd hits allowed

Konnor Pilkington – Tied for 4th strikeouts, 6th WHIP (0.77), tied for 6th hit batters, tied for 9th innings pitched

Bennett Sousa – Tied for 5th games pitched

Jonathan Stiever – Tied for 3rd home runs allowed (5), tied for 9th hits allowed

Taylor Varnell – Tied for 2nd hit batters, tied for 6th strikeouts, 7th (0.79), WHIP 8th innings pitched, 9th ERA (1.93)

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .233 (7th)/ .307 (10th)/ .346 (8th)/ .653 (9th).

Other key rankings: 1st triples (11), 2nd doubles, 3rd strikeouts, tied for 6th runs scored, tied for 7th hits, 12th walks, last HRs (6).

Team pitching: 2nd fewest walks allowed, tied for 2nd home runs allowed, 3rd strikeouts, 3rd most hits allowed, 4th most runs allowed, 9th ERA (3.93), 9th WHIP (1.29)

 

Series Preview: Hickory Crawdads at Greenville (S.C.) Drive April 30-May 2

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (16-7, 2nd Northern Division)

Greenville Drive (Boston Red Sox) (11-12, 3rd Southern Division)

The Hickory Crawdads start a weeklong homestand with a three-game series at Fluor Field at West End in downtown Greenville.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: From Hickory, take Hwy 321 South to Gastonia, then I-85 South into South Carolina. Take I-385 (exit 51) towards downtown, which ends into North St. Turn right onto North Church St. Follow that down to the Municipal Complex and plan to park there. Shuttle from the lot to the stadium is free, as is parking.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Tuesday: 2:05 p.m. (Drive Business Downtown)

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m.

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. (Dollar Drink Night)

TICKETS: Prices in advance range from $8 at Pesky’s Porch to $16 for Green Monster Seats. Add $1 on the day of the game. $8 lawn and deck seating available on the day of the game.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

The two teams played all eight games at Greenville a year ago with Hickory taking six of the eight played at Fluor Field. Overall, since 2009, the Crawdads are 46-41, 22-21 at Greenville.

PROBABLES (Hickory/ Greenville)

Tuesday: RHP Yerry Rodriguez vs. RHP Chris Machamer

Wednesday: RHP Hans Crouse vs. RHP Brayan Bello

Thursday: RHP Jean Casanova vs. RHP Alex Scherff

 

ABOUT HICKORY

The Crawdads polished off their second winning homestand of the young season by defeating Lakewood 10-3 on Sunday. Hickory split this four-game series against the BlueClaws and went 4-3 overall. The team has played better on the road. They are 8-2 on the road and 8-5 at home.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 8 in top-100)

SS Chris Seise No. 12

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

C Sam Huff No. 21

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley or Sam Huff; 1B Curtis Terry; 2B Frainyer Chavez or Jonathan Ornelas; 3B Sherten Apostel; SS Chris Seise; OF LF: Miguel Aparicio; CF: Pedro Gonzalez; RF: Jose Almonte.

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 2nd homers (7)

Sam Huff –1st homers (12), 1st slugging pct. (.805), 1st OPS (1.163), 1st total bases, tied 3rd runs (17), tied for 9th hits (25), tied for 8th RBI (16)

Jonathan Ornelas – 8th batting avg. (.345), 9th on-base pct. (.419), 9th OPS (.947)

Chris Seise – Tied for 2nd triples (3), 2nd caught stealing, tied for 8th strikeouts

Curtis Terry – 1st doubles (11), 1st RBI (23), tied for 2nd total bases, 3rd slugging pct. (.639), tied for 3rd homers (6), 8th OPS (.960),

Matt Whatley – Tied for 2nd walks

Individual pitching:

Hans Crouse – 3rd WHIP (0.69), 5th ERA (1.33), tied for 7th hit batters.

John King – 6th hits allowed

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.229 (9th)/ .294 (11th)/ .429 (1st)/ .723 (2nd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 1st total bases, 5th runs, 2nd total bases, 2nd fewest caught stealing, 3rd stolen bases, 3rd doubles, 11th hits, 12th walks

Team Pitching: 1st ERA (2.52), 1st WHIP (1.06), fewest runs allowed, fewest earned runs allowed, fewest hit batters, fewest walks allowed, 4th fewest hits allowed.

 

ABOUT GREENVILLE:

The Drive return home from a 4-3 road trip after splitting a four-game series at Lexington (Ky.). Greenville is 5-4 at Fluor Field.

Manager: Iggy Suarez (1st season)

Prospects – Greenville (rankings by MLB.com):

1B Triston Casas No. 2 (No. 6 1B prospect)

3B Brandon Howlett No. 15

RHP Alex Scherff No. 21

RHP Brayan Bello No. 25

LHP Yoan Aybad No. 29

Possible Lineups: C: Kole Cottam; 1B Triston Casas; 2B: Korby Batesole or Kervin Suarez; 3B: Brandon Howlett; SS: Grant Williams; LF: Jordan Wren; CF: Cole Brannen; RF: Tyler Esplin.

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Cole Brannen – Tied for third caught stealing (3), tied for 4th steals (8), tied for 8th strikeouts

Kervin Suarez – Tied for third caught stealing (3)

Individual pitching:

Rio Gomez – Tied for 1st saves (4)

Hunter Hayworth – Tied for 7th hits allowed, tied for 9th runs allowed, tied for 10th earned runs allowed

Chris Machamer – Tied for 10th hits allowed

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.217 (12th)/ .299 (10th)/ .290 (13th)/ .620 (13th).

Other key rankings: most strikeouts, most caught stealing, 13th runs scored, 13th hits, 13th total bases

Team pitching: 3rd most hits allowed, 8th ERA (3.55), tied for 11th WHIP (1.35)

 

Crawdads Blasts Gain Win

Success for the Hickory Crawdads this season has usually been courtesy of the team’s big bats. It was true again Sunday afternoon as Hickory swatted four home runs in defeating the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws 10-3 in front of 1,528 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The win gave Hickory (16-7) a split in the four-game series, which helped it avoid their first losing series of the season, as well as back-to-back losses for the first time. It also gave the Crawdads a winning homestand at 4-3 this week. They will take off Monday before starting a seven-game road trip the next day at Greenville (S.C.).

Hickory also used the victory to pick up ground on first-place Delmarva (Md.) in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division standings. The Shorebirds (17-4) dropped a 3-0 game to Augusta (Ga.) and have lost two straight, which has shrinked their lead over Hickory to two games.

Lakewood (8-16) wrapped up its road trip at 4-3 and now return home to face West Virginia on Tuesday.

The Crawdads pounded out 11 hits on Sunday with four of them leaving the park. Hickory now has double-digit hits in five games overall this season, two of those coming in the series and four of the five total against Lakewood pitching.

With the four home runs, Hickory now has 33 for the season, which is six more than Greensboro. The Crawdads also lead the SAL with a .429 slugging pct.

The barrage started in the first against Lakewood starter Francisco Morales (0-2). After the first two hitters fanned, Curtis Terry drilled a 96 miles-per-hour fastball to right for his sixth home run of the season. Three pitches later, Sam Huff walloped a 97 mph pitch well out to left for his 11th of the season. Huff is not tied with Round Rock’s Yordan Alvarez and Reno’s Kevin Cron for the minor league lead.

In the third, Matt Whatley added a two-run shot – his first of the season – to left.

An error on a force play opened the gate for Hickory to add two more in the fourth. The first run scored when Frainyer Chavez successfully laid down and beat out a squeeze bunt that scored Pedro Gonzalez from third. On the play, Miguel Aparcio advanced from first to third, which proved beneficial for the Crawdads after Chris Seise brought him in with a fly ball to center to make it 6-0.

Tim Brennan held Lakewood scoreless through four innings, but ran into trouble with two outs in the fifth. With Malvin Matos on first, Cole Stobbe joined him with a single. Jonathan Guzman singled in Matos before back-to-back misplays on the infield set up the second run. Ben Pelletier grounded to third but the throw went to second, where Guzman beat third baseman Sherten Apostel’s throw, to load the bases. Rafael Marchan hit a routine grounder to second, but the first baseman Terry slipped while covering the bases and that brought in two more runs.

Grant Anderson was brought in and he ended the rally by getting Abrahan Gutierrez to hit the first pitch and fly out to right.

Gonzalez got the two runs back with his seventh home run of the season, a two -run shot to left. The outfielder is now second in the SAL in homers.

The Crawdads rounded out the scoring in the sixth on Terry’s RBI double, and he later scored when first baseman Matt Kroon dropped a throw on the relay home following Gonzalez’s single.

Hickory’s bullpen allowed just three walks over 4.1 shutout innings. After getting the final out in the fifth, Anderson (3-1) worked around a walk in the sixth.

Hever Bueno pitched two scoreless innings with two walks allowed. Dylan Bice struck out two of the three in the ninth to close out the win.

Ornelas Four-hit Game Leads Crawdads Attack in Win

Jonathan Ornelas had four hits and sparked an early rally to lead the Hickory Crawdads to a 6-2 win over the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws Friday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads and Blue Claws have now split the first two games of the four-game series, which will resume Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m.

Hickory (15-6) moved within 2.5 games of first-place Delmarva (Md.) in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division after the Shorebirds (16-2) were rained out of their game against Augusta (Ga.) Friday night. Those two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday. The win also allowed the Crawdads to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this season. Lakewood defeated Hickory 3-1 in game one of the series on Thursday.

After just 55 hits over the last 10 games, Hickory put together 13 on Friday with 11 coming in the first four innings, during which the Crawdads scored all their runs.

Ornelas’ four-hit night is a pro career high for the Texas Rangers’ third-round pick in 2018. The native of Glendale, Ariz. had three hits on four occasions last year with the AZL Rangers and once already this season on April 12 vs. Kannapolis.

With the Crawdads collectively struggling for offense, Ornelas was placed in the leadoff spot for the first time this year, and that immediately paid off. After a lackluster three-hit performance on Thursday, the Crawdads got a jolt of instant energy from Ornelas during his first trip to the plate.

Facing starter Tyler McKay (0-2), Ornelas sent a blooper down the line in shallow right. Sensing extra bases, Ornelas sprinted out of the box, steered wide in the turn around first and eventually slid into second just ahead of the throw for a double. One out later, Matt Whatley snapped an 0-for-21 slump with an RBI single over the drawn-in infield.

Sam Huff followed with a two-run homer to right to make it 3-0. The high-arching blast was Huff’s fourth-consecutive game with a home run, which was also his SAL-leading tenth of the season. It also increased the team total to a league high 27.

Lakewood (7-15) scored a run in the second, courtesy of an error. With runners at first and second and one out, a wild pitch advanced both 90 feet. An attempt by Matt Whatley to cut down Jonathan Guzman moving to second sailed into center and allowed Malvin Matos to score from third.

The Crawdads rebounded quickly in the third, when they put the first three aboard. Huff started the inning with a walk and moved to third when Sherten Apostel doubled off the base of the wall in left. Jose Almonte singled in Huff and Chad Smith’s grounder to first brought in Apostel. Gilmael Troya’s wild pitch scored Almonte to complete the inning and make it 6-1.

The game’s scoring finished in the fourth when Lakewood’s Cole Stobbe smashed his first homer of the season.

Ornelas added singles in the second, fourth and seventh innings to complete his four-hit night. Whatley and Apostel also had three hits each.

Lakewood put 11 baserunners aboard in seven innings but hit into three double plays and stranded six. One double play in the third likely saved a run and kept the BlueClaws at 3-1. With runners at first and second, Matos hit a ball to the left side of the bag at second. Seise moved to his right and in fielding the play, he reacted quickly to a bad hop by catching the ball with his head turned toward the outfield to start the 6-4-3 twin killing.

Jean Casanova pitched the first four innings for the Crawdads before Tai Tiedemann took over. Lakewood threatened to score against Tiedemann in the sixth, when Matos was hit by a pitch with one out. Guzman singled to put runners on the corners on the corners with two outs. However, Wes Robertson was brought in and struck out Stobbe to end the threat.

Trejo singled to start the seventh but was eliminated on a double play turned between first baseman Apostel and Seise. Robertson pitched to the minimum over his 3.1 innings of work and struck out three to earn the win (1-0).

Series Preview: Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws at Hickory Crawdads April 25-28

Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) (6-14, seventh place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (14-5, second place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Hickory Crawdads continue their weeklong homestand with a four-game series against the Lakewood BlueClaws from Thursday through Sunday.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Thursday: Lakewood at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Thirsty Thursday, Salute to Scrubs Week (Healthcare professionals receive a free ticket with a current ID badge), NFL Draft Party

Friday: Lakewood at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Salute to Scrubs Week (Healthcare professionals receive a free ticket with a current ID badge)

Saturday: Lakewood at Hickory, 5:00 p.m. Sanctus Real Post-Game Concert

Sunday: Church Bulletin Sunday (Bring a church bulletin to the ticket office and receive a $6 ticket with $4 from each ticket donated back to the respective church), Red Out Night (Wear red and receive a free ticket to the game), Bark at the Park.

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section. NOTE: Tickets for Saturday’s game and concert are $16, $21 for VIP seating.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

The Crawdads took three of four from Lakewood in New Jersey to open the 2019 season. The BlueClaws dominated the South Atlantic League a year ago and they did not spare Hickory from their wrath. Lakewood won 7 of 10, which included a 3-1 mark at LP Frans last August. Since 2009, when the Crawdads-Rangers affiliation began, Lakewood is 17-16 at Hickory, 55-50 overall.

 

PROBABLES (Lakewood/ Hickory)

Thursday: RHP Colton Eastman vs. RHP Ronny Henriquez

Friday:  RHP Tyler McKay vs. RHP Jean Casanova

Saturday:  LHP Jhordany Mezquita vs. LHP John King

Sunday: RHP Francisco Morales vs. RHP Tim Brennan

 

ABOUT HICKORY

The Crawdads enter the series on the heels of two straight wins over Augusta (Ga.) to claim a 2-1 series win. Hickory is 6-3 at home this season.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 80 in top-100)

SS Chris Seise No. 12

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

C Sam Huff No. 21

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 20

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley or Sam Huff; 1B Curtis Terry; 2B Frainyer Chavez or Jonathan Ornelas; 3B Sherten Apostel; SS Chris Seise; OF LF: Miguel Aparicio or Chad Smith; CF: Pedro Gonzalez; RF: Jose Almonte.

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Jose Almonte – Tied for 9th doubles (6)

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 2nd homers (5)

Sam Huff – 1st home runs (8), 1st total bases, 1st slugging pct. (.750), 2nd OPS (1.063), tied for 9th runs, tied for 10th strikeouts

Chris Seise – 2nd caught stealing (4), tied for 10th stolen bases (5)

Curtis Terry – 1st RBI (21), tied for 2nd homers (5), 3rd total bases, tied for 3rd doubles (8), 5th slugging pct. (.600)

Matt Whatley – 5th walks

Individual pitching:

Tim Brennan – 8th WHIP (0.76)

Hans Crouse – 4th WHIP (0.69), tied for 4th hit batters (3), 10th ERA (1.33), 10th innings (20.1)

Scott Engler – Tied for 6th saves (2)

Abdiel Mendoza – Tied for 6th saves (2)

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.227 (19th)/ .291 (11th)/ .424 (2nd)/ .715 (3rd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 3rd total bases, 4th runs, 11th hits, next to last walks,

Team Pitching:

1st ERA (2.42), 1st WHIP (1.02), fewest runs allowed, fewest earned runs allowed, fewest walks allowed, fewest hit batters, 4th fewest hits allowed, 11th home runs allowed (8),

 

ABOUT LAKEWOOD:

Though the lost the finale of a three-game series at Rome, Ga., the BlueClaws won two of three against the Braves coming off a 1-10 stretch. The two wins at Rome snapped an 0-8 start on the road.

Manager: Mike Micucci (1st season)

Prospects – Lakewood (rankings by MLB.com):

3B Alex Bohm No. 1 (No. 56 in top-100, No. 6 3B)

SS Luis Garcia No. 4

RHP Francisco Morales No. 8

C Rafael Marchan No. 14

RHP Dominic Pipkins No. 23

LHP Jhordany Mezquita No. 26

Possible Lineups: C: Rafael Marchan or Abraham Gutierrez; 1B: Matt Kroon; 2B: Luis Garcia or Jonathan Guzman; 3B: Alec Bohm; SS: Jonathan Guzman or Luis Garcia; LF: varied; CF: Yerwin Trejo or Malvin Matos; RF: Carlos De La Cruz or Malvin Matos.

 

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Alex Bohm – Tied for 3rd hits, 6th batting avg. (.343), 6th on-base pct. (.425), tied for 8th walks, 9th OPS (.947), tied for 9th doubles (6), tied for 10th total bases

Carlos De La Cruz – Tied for 3rd caught stealing

Jonathan Guzman – Tied for 10th stolen bases (5)

Rafael Marchan – Tied for 9th doubles (6)

Individual pitching:

Colton Eastman – Tied for 6th earned runs allowed, tied for 8th runs allowed

Ethan Evanko – Tied for 9th appearances (7)

Kevin Gowdy – Tied for 2nd walks allowed

Robinson Martinez – Tied for 6th saves (2)

Tyler McKay – Tied for 10th earned runs allowed, tied for 10th runs allowed

Jhordany Mezquita – Tied for 6th earned runs allowed, tied for 10th runs allowed

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .235 (6th)/.306 (7th)/ .313 (13th)/ .318 (12th)

Other key rankings: 1st caught stealing, 2nd steals, 3rd hits, 4th strikeouts, 11th total bases, 12th runs scored, 13th home runs (5)

Team pitching:

Most hits allowed, most walks allowed, 2nd most runs allowed, 2nd most earned runs allowed, 13th ERA (4.84), 13th WHIP (1.49),

Home Runs, Pitching Carry Crawdads to Win

The combination that has proven successful for the Hickory Crawdads this season was used again Tuesday night in a 3-2 win over the Augusta (Ga.) GreenJackets.

A crowd of 1,515 at L.P. Frans saw the Crawdads improve to 13-5 on the season with the victory. Hickory remains two games behind Delmarva (Md.) in the standings after the Shorebirds defeated Asheville Tuesday night.

After splitting the first two games of the series, Augusta (9-8) and Hickory will play the rubber game Wednesday night. The Crawdads have yet to lose a series this season and with the win on Tuesday, they avoided their first back-to-back losses of the season, following a 5-1 loss on Monday.

Hickory’s Yerry Rodriguez and Augusta’s Matt Frisbee matched zeroes through the first three innings before the Crawdads asserted the power game. Curtis Terry lined a 1-1 pitch to right field to break the scoreless tie with his fifth homer of the season. Huff followed Terry’s blast one out later with a first-pitch clout off the batter’s eye in center for his seventh of the year.

Huff and Terry are currently first and second in the South Atlantic League in home runs.  As a team, Hickory also leads the SAL with 22, seven ahead of second-place Asheville.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez (2-1) held the GreenJackets scoreless on four hits until the sixth. With one out, Diego Rincones barreled up an offspeed pitch to the wall in left-center for a double. One out later, Jacob Gonzalez singled in the run with a liner to left.

Rodriguez finished the night with one run allowed on six hits and a walk to go with seven strikeouts.

Wes Robertson struck out one over two perfect innings and Hickory supported the pitching further with an unearned run in the eighth. Miguel Aparicio reached on an error to start the inning and later scored on Matt Whatley’s sacrifice fly.

Augusta made it interesting in the ninth when Aaron Bond sneaked a home run just above the fence and just inside the right-field pole to make it 3-2.

However, Scott Engler averted further damage when second baseman Frainyer Chavez fielded a ball that ricocheted off Terry at first and completed the out at first to end the game. For his efforts, Engler picked up his second save.

With the two runs allowed, the Crawdads lowered their SAL-leading ERA to 2.33. Frisbee allowed the two runs on four hits and a walk and struck out six to take the loss (0-1).

 

Series Preview: Augusta (Ga.) GreenJackets at Hickory Crawdads April 22-24

Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco Giants) (8-7, 2nd place, Southern Division)

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (12-4, 2nd place Northern Division)

The Hickory Crawdads start a seven-game homestand Monday with three against Augusta at L.P. Frans Stadium.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Monday: Augusta at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Make-A Difference Monday (Bring canned goods $5 or more in value and receive a free ticket), Salute to Scrubs Week (Healthcare professionals receive a free ticket with a current ID badge)

Tuesday: Augusta at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Dollar Dog Tuesday ($1 hot dogs, dogs admitted for $1), $2 craft pints, Salute to Scrubs Week (Healthcare professionals receive a free ticket with a current ID badge)

Wednesday: Augusta at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Kids Win Wednesday (All kids 12 and under receive a free ticket, free meal voucher, and free bounce house, speed pitch and carousel voucher every Wednesday night game) Salute to Scrubs Week (Healthcare professionals receive a free ticket with a current ID badge), Wine Wednesday

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

Hickory swept Augusta in a three-game series last June in the only series played by the two teams. The Crawdads have not played at Augusta since 2016 when they took two of three there. Since 2009, which is the start of the Crawdads affiliation with the Rangers, Augusta holds a 31-29 edge in games played, 19-15 at Hickory.

 

PROBABLES (Augusta/ Hickory)

Monday: RHP Blake Rivera vs. RHP Tim Brennan

Tuesday: RHP Matt Frisbee vs. RHP Yerry Rodriguez

Wednesday: RHP Jake Wong vs. RHP Hans Crouse

 

ABOUT HICKORY

Hickory took two out of three at Columbia (S.C.) over the weekend. During their first homestand, the Crawdads went 4-2 against Kannapolis and Asheville.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 80 in top-100)

SS Chris Seise No. 12

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

C Sam Huff No. 21

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 20

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley or Sam Huff; 1B Curtis Terry; 2B Frainyer Chavez or Jonathan Ornelas; 3B Sherten Apostel; SS Chris Seise; LF: Miguel Aparicio or Chad Smith; CF: Pedro Gonzalez; RF: Jose Almonte.

 

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 6th homers (3)

Sam Huff – 1st home runs (6), 1st total bases, 1st slugging pct. (.722), 3rd OPS (1.037), tied for 10th runs

Jonathan Ornelas – Tied for 10th runs

Chris Seise – tied for 8th steals (5)

Curtis Terry – 1st RBI (19), tied for 2nd homers (4), tied for 4th total bases, tied for 5th doubles (6), 7th slugging pct. (.569)

Matt Whatley – 4th walks

Individual pitching:

Hans Crouse – 2nd WHIP (0.35), tied for 3rd hit batters (3), 10th ERA (1.26)

Abdiel Mendoza – Tied for 5th saves (2)

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.229 (10th)/ .294 (13th)/ .416 (2nd)/ .710 (3rd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 3rd runs, 3rd total bases, next to last walks,

Team Pitching:

1st ERA (2.18), 1st WHIP (0.97), fewest hits allowed, fewest runs allowed, fewest earned runs allowed, tied for fewest home runs allowed (4), fewest walks allowed.

 

ABOUT AUGUSTA:

The GreenJackets completed their first homestand of the season on Saturday with a 3-1 loss to Charleston (SC), but finished off the week at 4-2 overall. Because of The Masters in its backyard, Augusta had a nine-game road trip to start the year and managed a 4-5 record.

Manager: Carlos Valderrama (2nd season)

Prospects – Augusta (rankings by MLB.com):

RHP Sean Hjelle No. 6

RHP Jake Wong No. 7

RHP Gregory Santos No. 8

RHP Blake Rivera No. 18

3B Jacob Gonzalez No. 19

LHP Seth Corry No. 25

Possible Lineups: C: Andres Angulo or Jeffry Parra; 1B: Frankie Tostado; 2B: Shane Matheny or Wander Franco; 3B:Jacob Gonzalez; SS: Nico Giarratano or Shane Matheny; LF: Diego Rincones; CF: Jose Layer; RF: Aaron Bond.

 

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Aaron Bond – 3rd strikeouts,  tied for 8th steals (5)

Shane Matheny – 4th RBI (15)

Ismael Munguia – Tied for 7th runs

Frankie Tostado – 9th batting avg. (.327), 10th on-base pct. (.411), 10th OPS (.921)

Individual pitching:

Seth Corry – Tied for 6th walks

Sean Hjelle – 1st innings (19.2)

Jesus Tona – Tied for 1st saves (3)

Franklin Van Gurp – Tied for 9th games pitched (6)

Ryan Walker – Tied for 9th games pitched (6)

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.234 (6th)/ .333 (4th)/ .346 7th)/.680 (6th)

Other key rankings: 2nd fewest strikeouts, tied for 2nd walks, 12th hits, 12th doubles,

Team pitching:

4th fewest hits allowed, 7th ERA (3.35), 8th WHIP (1.29)

 

NOTES OF INTEREST: RHP Cole Uvila and OF Julio Pablo Martinez were both promoted to High-A Down East last week. RHP Ronny Henriquez, OF Chad Smith joined the club. Henriquez is the first person born in the 2000s to pitch for Hickory … According to MLB.com, should he get to the major leagues, Augusta’s Sean Hjelle would be equal to Jon Rauch as the tallest pitcher in major league history… Augusta’s Jacob Gonzalez is the son of Arizona Diamondbacks World Series hero Luis Gonzalez… Hickory’s Sean Chandler and Augusta’s Keaton Winn both pitched at Iowa Western CC and were drafted one round apart (Winn 5th, Chandler 6th) last summer… Augusta RHP Matt Frisbee is the lone player with a North Carolina connection, as he pitched at Enka High and UNC Greensboro.

Series Preview: Hickory Crawdads at Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies April 18-20

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (10-2, 2nd Northern Division)

Columbia Fireflies (New York Mets) (6-7, 4th Southern Divisioin)

The Hickory Crawdads take a quick roadtrip to Segra Park for a three-game series against the Fireflies

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: From Hickory, take Hwy 321 South to Gastonia, then I-85 North towards Charlotte. Take exit 30 to the I-485 outer loop, then I-77 South toward Columbia. Take I-77 to 277 South to Columbia. Take the Farrow Road/SC-555 exit. Turn left onto Farrow Road/SC-555. Continue onto Colonial Drive. Turn left onto Gregg Street. Turn right onto Freed Street. The ballpark is located on the left side of the street.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. (Copa de la Diversion, Thirsty Thursday)

Friday: 7:05 p.m. (Copa de la Diversion, Chicharrones Piggy Bank Giveaway to first 1,500 fans)

Saturday: 6:05 p.m. (Copa de la Diversion, ZOOperstars Appearance, Post-game Fireworks)

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

The Crawdads have had decent success against the Fireflies since their move from Savannah (Ga.) after the 2015 season. Over the three seasons since the Fireflies relocation to Columbia, the Crawdads are 15-9 overall, 8-3 in Columbia. Last year, Hickory held a 4-3 edge in the season series with a split in the four-game series in South Carolina.

PROBABLES (Hickory/ Columbia)

Thursday: RHP Ronny Henriquez vs. RHP Christian James

Friday: RHP Jean Casanova vs. RHP Dedniel Nunez

Saturday: LHP John King vs. RHP Woods Richardson

 

ABOUT HICKORY

The Crawdads polished off a 4-2 homestand with a win on Wednesday morning over Asheville. Hickory took 2 of 3 in that series. They’ll take to the road for the second time this season after posting a 6-1 mark during the season-opening trip to Lakewood (N.J.) and Greensboro.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 83 in top-100)

SS Chris Seise No. 12

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

C Sam Huff No. 21

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley or Sam Huff; 1B Curtis Terry; 2B Frainyer Chavez or Jonathan Ornelas; 3B Sherten Apostel; SS Chris Seise; LF: Miguel Aparicio; CF: Pedro Gonzalez; RF: Jose Almonte.

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 5th homers (3)

Sam Huff – Tied for 1st homers (4), tied for 4th total bases, 5th slugging pct. (.583), tied for 8th strikeouts

Chris Seise – Tied for 6th steals (5)

Curtis Terry – 1st RBI (19), tied for 1st homers (4), tied for 1st total bases, 2nd slugging pct. (.688), tied for 3rd doubles (6), 4th OPS (1.040), tied for 4th hits,

Matt Whatley – Tied for 10th walks

Individual pitching:

Tim Brennan – 5th WHIP (0.55)

Hans Crouse – 2nd WHIP (0.35), tied for 9th strikeouts (19)

Abdiel Mendoza – Tied for 3rd saves (2)

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.238 (4th)/ .299 (10th)/ .422 (2nd)/ .721 (2nd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 2nd runs, 2nd total bases, 2nd fewest caught stealing, 3rd stolen bases, 3rd doubles, T-4th hits, tied for 12th walks

Team Pitching: 1st ERA (1.92), 1st WHIP (0.90), fewest hits allowed, fewest runs allowed, fewest earned runs allowed, 3rd fewest home runs allowed (2), fewest walks allowed, 4th strikeouts.

 

ABOUT COLUMBIA:

The Fireflies won three of their last four games to cap a seven-game roadtrip to Lexington (Ky.) and Rome (Ga.). Columbia was 3-3 during its first homestand to open the season.

Manager: Pedro Lopez (2nd season)

Prospects – Columbia (rankings by MLB.com):

SS Ronny Mauricio No. 3

3B Mark Vientos No. 4

RHP Woods Richardson No. 7

RHP Christian James No. 26

Possible Lineups: C: Juan Uriarte or Hayden Senger; 1B Brian Sharpe; 2B Chandler Avant or Walter Rasquin; 3B: Mark Vientos; SS: Ronny Mauricio; LF: Brad Marquez or Wagner Lagrange; CF: Anthony Dirocie; RF: Jose Miguel Medina.

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Ronny Mauricio – Tied for 1st hits, 5th batting avg. (.346)

Individual pitching:

Jose Butto – Tied for 3rd hits allowed, tied for 7th runs allowed,

Jaiso Vilera – Tied for 5th earned runs allowed, tied for 6th hits allowed, tied for 9th runs allowed, tied for 9th walks

Ezequiel Zabaleta – 1st games pitched (7), tied for 1st saves (3)

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.229 (7th)/ .295 (12th)/ .319 (10th)/ .614 (11th).

Other key rankings: 3rd fewest strikeouts, 11th home runs, 11th walks, tied for 11th doubles, 13th runs scored, last steals (3).

Team pitching: 3rd hits allowed, 3rd fewest walks allowed, 3rd fewest strikeouts, 4th earned runs allowed, 8th WHIP (1.27), 11th ERA (4.22)

 

NOTES OF INTEREST: Crawdads CF JP Martinez (Rangers No. 2 prospect) was promoted to High-A Down East on Wednesday… RHP Ronny Henriquez will make his stateside debut on Thursday. In 11 starts in the Dominican Summer League last season, the 18-year-old struck out 79 and walked 8 over 58 innings with a 1.55 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP. He skipped two levels to join Hickory…Columbia is second in the SAL in fielding pct.

Reunion on the Diamond: Former Teammates Whatley and Varnell Now Rivals as Pros

It is always a special moment when former teammates from college or high school meet in pro ball for the first time as opponents. Knowing the foxholes that they both went through as teammates, there’s an extra level of respect that exists that is a notch above any other opponent. It’s an even deeper respect for former battery mates.

Kannapolis Intimidators pitcher Taylor Varnell experienced such a moment last Thursday when Hickory Crawdads Matt Whatley, his catcher from their days at Oral Roberts Univ., strolled to the plate to hit in the first inning. It was a moment that didn’t seem fated to happen when the Crawdads posted their lineup earlier that afternoon.

“I came into the clubhouse,” Whatley recalled. “And I didn’t see my name in the lineup. So, I go, ‘okay, I’ve got a day off.’ Then I see that Taylor’s pitching and I go, ‘Man, it’d be kind of fun to face him.’”

However, when a couple of Hickory players came down with minor ailments and were late scratches, Whatley was pressed into duty as the team’s designated hitter. Having already seen the lineup, Varnell, like Whatley, had thought his former ORU teammate was getting the day off.

“When he came walking up there,” said Varnell. “I was kind of surprised. It was hard not to smile a little bit at him.”

Seeing the moment at hand, Whatley tipped his helmet to the pitcher he caught for two seasons in college. “It was fun getting to face Taylor,” said Whatley with a smile. “The last time I got an at-bat off of him was my sophomore fall (season).”

During their time together at Oral Roberts, the two held a genuine respect for each other. In fact, Varnell, who pitched at Western Oklahoma State as a freshman before transferring to ORU, already knew about Whatley when he joined the team.

“From the first time I got on campus, I knew that he was going to be a high draft pick,” Varnell remembered. “I had heard all about him. He’s great behind the dish and a good hitter. I hadn’t seen him behind the plate yet, but he was crazy good back there.”

He credited Whatley, who eventually was the Texas Rangers third-round pick in 2017, for his strike-zone framing abilities, to which, as he said, “got me so many strikes that I wouldn’t have got otherwise.”

After his senior season, Varnell went on to become the 29th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox. Despite some ups-and-downs in his teammate’s career, Whatley thought the left-hander had the ability and would get a chance to go pro.

“It’s fun to see where he’s at from college until now,” said the Crawdads backstop. “He had the stuff, but he was a little inconsistent in college. Now, he’s way more consistent.”

Having thrown to Whatley for two seasons, as they faced each other last Thursday, Varnell knew that he would have to go about his approach to this hitter differently.

“It was kind of hard to attack him in the usual way,” said Varnell. “Because, he knows how I like to pitch. So, I tried to kind of mix it up a little bit.”

The mix of pitches got the better of Whatley in the first when Varnell struck him out. However, in the fourth, Whatley found a pitch he could handle. Unfortunately for Whatley, the line drive to the left side of the infield found the glove of third baseman Bryce Bush.

“It’s baseball,” said Whatley in reaction to the hard out. “Sometimes, you’re going to barrel some stuff up and not get some hits.”

Varnell agreed that Whatley got the better of him the second time.

“That’s a good play by my third baseman,” Varnell admitted. “That one was on me, he should’ve had the hit, honestly.”

In getting to the pros, both players gave credit to another Crawdads alum, Sean Snedeker, who was the pitching coach for Hickory in 1998 during the White Sox affiliation era and later went on to Duke and ORU.

“Sned is one of the best humans I know,” Whatley recalled. “He’s always wanting the best for both of us, but for everyone he’s ever coached. I couldn’t be more happy to have had Sean Snedeker as a pitching coach.”

Varnell said Snedeker, now the pitching coach at Lamar Univ. in Texas, was instrumental in getting his potential pro career on track.

“Going into college, I was a bit of a head case,” Varnell said. “I’d speed it up too fast in my head. He would help me out with the mental part, which is what I needed.”

 

Matt Whatley Taylor Varnell

Crawdads catcher Matt Whatley (right) and Kannapolis pitcher Taylor Varnell were teammates for two seasons at Oral Roberts Univ.

Brennan Locks Up Tourists for Crawdads Win

Tim Brennan allowed just two baserunners over six shutout innings and shutdown the South Atlantic League’s top offensive to lead the Hickory Crawdads to a 2-0 win Monday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

In winning the first of the three-game series, the Crawdads (9-2) remained in second place in the Northern Division a half-game behind the Delmarva (Md.) Shorebirds (9-1), who defeated Kannapolis at home on Monday. During the current homestand, Hickory is now 3-1 and will look to improve on that against Asheville on Tuesday as the series continues with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch.

The Tourists entered Monday’s game with the league’s top numbers across the board (.282/.363/.493/ .856), but the starter Brennan had little trouble working his way through the lineup.

He retired the first 12 before surrendering a walk to current SAL hitter-of-the-week Willie MacIver to start the fifth. The lead runner was retired on successive fielder’s choices leaving Daniel Montano at first with two outs. He stole second second and moved to third on catcher Matt Whatley’s throwing error. However, Brennan got Coco Montes to fly to center to end the lone threat against him.

Hunter Stovall broke up Brennan’s fledgling no-hit bid in the sixth with a clean single to left to start the inning.

Brennan left the game after clearing the sixth on 73 pitches (46 strikes).

The right-hander was supported for his first professional win (1-0) in two starts by the offense, which gave him all he needed four batters into the game. Facing Ryan Feltner (0-2), J.P. Martinez drilled the righty’s second pitch to the leftfield wall for a double. He moved to third on Matt Whatley’s fly to the track in right for Curtis Terry ripped a double to right for the run.

Sam Huff hit a slider over the billboards in right for a solo blast in the sixth to account for the second run. His home run was the fourth of the season with ties him for the SAL and pushed his team’s league high to 14 on the year.

Asheville threatened to erase its deficit in the seventh against Abdiel Mendoza. Grant Lavigne singled and MacIver got his second walk of the game. Two outs later, Mendoza loaded the bases by walking Montes. However, Stovall flied out to shallow left to end the rally.

Scott Engler pitched two perfect innings for Hickory, striking out five of the six he faced to pick up his first pro save.

Game Notes: Cole Uvila was promoted to High-A Down East on Monday. The 40th-round pick of the Rangers last June (GA. Gwinnett) went 2-0 in three relief outings with ten strikeouts over seven innings. He allowed just three hits and one walk… The Crawdads now have three shutouts on the season and have seven games out of 11 with 0 or 1 run allowed.