The Hickory Crawdads began the 2nd half of their South Atlantic League season in much the same way that they ended the first half, as the 'Dads bats carried the team to an 8-3 win over the Rome Braves at State Mutual Stadium.
The Crawdads didn't miss a beat coming off the three-day All-Star break, as the team recorded it's 16th win in their last 17 games while scoring at least five runs for the seventh time in their last eight contests. Second baseman Travis Demeritte led the attack, finishing with a 2-3 game that included his league-leading 16th home run of the year and four runs scored.
It was Demeritte's long ball in the 2nd that gave the 'Dads a lead they would never lose, as the Hickory second baseman launched a 2-run homer over the left field wall for a 2-0 score. The advantage doubled to 4-0 with another pair of runs in the 4th, as Kellin Deglan drove in Demeritte with a RBI double before scoring himself on a throwing error. Hickory's lead grew to 6-0 in the 6th, when Deglan and Jairo Beras lined back-to-back RBI doubles.
The Braves finally got on the scoreboard with an unearned tally in the bottom of the 6th, but the Crawdads responded with a run in the 7th on a walk and eventual run scoring balk to Demeritte before Luis Marte singled and scored on an error in the 8th for a 8-1 'Dads lead. Rome pushed across two runs in the bottom of the 9th, but reliever Jose Valdespina eventually retired the side to end the game with an 8-3 Hickory win.
Deglan joined Demeritte with a good night at the plate, finishing 3-5 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored. Beras also had a three hit night, going 3-4 with a double and a RBI.
Crawdads starting pitcher Tyler Smith (4-1) earned the win with five shutout innings on four hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Braves starter Tyler Brosius (1-4) took the loss after allowing four runs, two earned, on six hits, one walk, and two strikeouts.
The Crawdads (1-0) and Braves (0-1) will face off again Friday night at 7:00 pm in game two of their four-game series.