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Friday, 29 August 2014 07:11

Hickory Crawdads Drop Contest to Lakewood, Eliminated from Playoff Contention

The Hickory Crawdads slim playoff hopes officially ended Thursday night, as the 'Dads were eliminated from the Northern Division race with a 3-0 shutout loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.

For the third straight night the Crawdads received a standout pitching performance from their starter, this time with Tyler Smith striking out seven and allowing only one run during his six innings pitched. The 'Dads bats were unable to replicate their late rallies from the past two games, however, giving Hickory their eighth shutout loss of the season and denying the Crawdads the series sweep over the BlueClaws.

The first five frames of the ballgame were a pitcher's duel between Smith and 'Claws starter Yoel Mecias, with the 'Dads and 'Claws entering the 6th inning scoreless. Lakewood finally got to Smith and broke up the shutout in the bottom of the frame, with a leadoff walk to Andrew Knapp and a double by Dylan Cozens setting the stage for a RBI groundout from Willians Astudillo to give the BlueClaws a 1-0 lead.

The 'Claws stretched their advantage to 3-0 in the 7th, scoring two runs on a 2-out walk to Malquin Canelo, a RBI triple by Andrew Pullin, and a wild pitch by Hickory reliever Scott Williams. The Crawdads got their leadoff batter aboard in both the 7th and 9th, but Lakewood relievers Delvi Francisco and Joe DeNato worked out of both innings to finish off the 'Dads 3-0 loss.

Mecias (3-3) earned the win for the BlueClaws after tossing six shutout frames on four hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. Smith (7-6) took the hard-luck loss with one run given up over his six innings pitched. DeNato earned his first save of the season with a scoreless 9th.

Ronald Guzman led the Hickory offense with a 3-4 night including a double, while Joe Jackson finished the game 2-4 with a double.

The Crawdads (36-30) will now head to Delmarva to start a season-ending four game series with the Shorebirds. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

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