The Low-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers had a homestand this past Memorial Day Weekend, playing the Miami Marlins affiliated Greensboro Grasshoppers, a team you could say is Hickory’s rival.
The Hickory Crawdads had fallen to the Grasshoppers the first two nights, 3-1 on Thursday and a 11-1 mud-stomper on Fridaay night. Nonetheless, LP Frans Stadium was packed on Saturday night, a sold-out crowd in Hickory, North Carolina… Yes, a Low-A minor league team had to turn fans away. Since 2013 when I began to attend the Crawdad games, never have I been apart of a sold-out crowd. Saturday night, I discovered new parking lot grounds and my love grew even more for the sport of baseball.
The Crawdads fed off their home energy and the 4,228 fans in attendance to produce an 8-4 win. Seven batters produced eight runs, while two came in home run blasts, a three-run homer in the 3rd inning by Andy Ibanez, and then a single home run later on by Chris Garia. Both shots were their fourth on the season.
Hickory had to deal with some adversity in the night. They trailed in the hit totals all afternoon while a lot of their balls got to the outfield, but plenty were caught by the outfield ‘Hoppers, three balls hit by Josh Altmann more notably caught, buy Altmann finally got a double later in the game. No greater adversity than two ejections in the 5th inning. After home plate umpire Mike Carroll felt Hickory’s Peter Fairbanks went high and tight on the first batter up, Fairbanks was ejected and manager Steve Mintz wouldn’t stand for this injustice and didn’t let Fairbanks walk to the locker room alone. Omarlin Lopez would enter the game then for Hickory and be crowned with the win for the Crawdads, tallying three strikeouts.
GREENSBORO 4 | 10 | 1
HICKORY 8 | 8 | 0
W – Omarlin Lopez (3-1; 1.98 ERA)
L – Jordan Holloway (1-2; 6.88 ERA)
On Sunday afternoon, we finished out the Grasshoppers and Crawdads series as Hickory tried to even up the series at 2-2, however Greensboro’s “second half” efforts, if you will, proved to be the difference in a 6-2 game behind a 3-run turn in the 6th inning. It was an ugly outing in Hickory that the Crawdads want to put behind them, mainly because of their mental mistakes giving Greensboro three unearned runs on a silver platter… served with a silver spoon, too.
Hickory’s catcher Tyler Sanchez was the only one to seem to find his bat by going 3-for-5 on this game, and even second baseman Andy Ibanez, though going 1-for-3, used a couple walks to get on base and contribute one of the two runs put on the scoreboard tonight. However, when guys like LeDarious Clark, Eduard Pinto, and even designated hitter Chris Garia combine 0-for-13 and 3 strikeouts in a game, you can’t expect an easy-going night at all. I’m sure I don’t have to pick on Clark for also getting an error tonight, someone who was totally off rhythm tonight.
Other errors came by way of fielding (Andy Ibanez), out-of-control throwing (Dylan Moore), and a missed catch (Brett Martin). Greensboro also had four errors themselves tonight, including three by SS Anfernee Seymour himself when it came to fielding, making his total for the season 14 errors. Unfortunately for the Crawdads, when you add errors and poor plate appearances to a couple opposing hot bats in Greensboro’s Zach Sullivan and Kyle Barrett, you’re not going to get many wins to your record.
Brett Martin battled Greensboro’s Cody Poteet today, but Poteet was done in the 5th inning after 84 pitches and reliever Jeff Kinley came in to earn the win, only giving up 1 hit and talling a strikeout through 2.2 innings. Brett Martin persevered through 7 innings, but gave up all 6 runs tonight, so he recorded the loss, discounting his lower pitch count throughout the night.
GREENSBORO 6 | 10 | 4
HICKORY 2 | 8 | 4
W – Jeff Kinley (4-2; 2.63 ERA)
L – Brett Martin (2-3; 4.53 ERA)
The Hickory Crawdads come out of this 4-game series dropping three of those, and now hold a record of 29-21 this year. Hickory remains fortunate only to be 1.5 games back of the Hagerstown Suns in the SAL Northern Division. The Crawdads will be on the road for Delmarva tomorrow. The next time Hickory plays at home will be next Monday, June 6th, when the Greensboro Grasshoppers come back once more. Hickory will hope to fix their issues and get their heads in the game before next week’s 3-game home stand against the Grasshoppers.