The Hickory Crawdads opened their home season on Tuesday night in front of a crowd of 1,527. The ‘Dads took on the Bowling Green Hot Rods but dropped the series opener 14-7.
Bowling Green took an early lead, jumping on Crawdads starting pitcher Ricky Vanasco for three runs in the first inning. Vanasco wrapped up his first outing of the season after one and a third innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out one.
John Matthews came into the game in relief of Vanasco and allowed four runs (three earned) across two and a third innings. Jesus Linarez entered in the fifth giving up a run in his first frame and another in the sixth to put the ‘Dads behind 9-0.
The Crawdads offense start to pick up in the sixth inning as they put up a pair of runs. Evan Carter singled to start the inning and advanced to third on a single by Thomas Saggese and a walk by Trevor Hauver. Cristian Inoa, who came into the game as the South Atlantic League’s RBI leader, hit a sacrifice fly to right field to bring in Carter. A wild pitch during the next at bat allowed Saggese to score from third.
The ’Dads cut further into the lead in the seventh inning with five runs to make it a 12-7 game. Cody Freeman reached second on a fielding error to lead off the inning. Keyber Rodriguez singled to put runners in second and third. Carter hit a sacrifice fly to get the Crawdads their first run of the inning. Aaron Zavala and Saggese walked to load the bases for the Trevor Hauver. Hauver delivered, sending a ball over the right field fence for a grand slam.
The Crawdads couldn’t keep the momentum going, going scoreless the rest of the way while giving up two runs in the ninth.