Crawdads win streak at eight
The Hickory Crawdads returned home for the first time in the 2nd half of the season Monday night and came away with their 6th shutout of the year, as pitchers Akeem Bostick, Ryne Slack, Jose Valdespina, and Cody Kendall combined to hold the Kannapolis Intimidators scoreless in the 'Dads 2-0 win at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The shutout win was the second such victory in the last three games for the Crawdads, who improve to 5-0 to start the 2nd half while also riding an eight-game winning streak that dates back to the first half. The Hickory pitching staff has taken the lead to begin the post All-Star game streak, with the team allowing only eight total runs over the five game stretch for an ERA of 0.90.
Bostick established the tone of the game early, with the 6'4" right-hander retiring the final 14 consecutive batters he faced while finishing with five shutout frames on just two hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts. Slack entered in the 6th and retired the first two batters he faced before abruptly losing his command, walking three straight Intimidators, and ultimately leaving the game with Hickory athletic trainer Sean Fields. Valdespina picked up his All-Star teammate however, recording the final out of the inning en route to tossing 2.1 hitless frames from the pen. Kendall would finish the job from there, as the All-Star closer tossed a scoreless 9th to give the Crawdads the 2-0 win.
The Hickory offense was ignited in two separate innings by second base Evan Van Hoosier, with the All-Star lining a solo home run to left to leadoff the 1st before doubling and scoring on a groundout in the 3rd for the 'Dads 2-0 advantage. Van Hoosier finished the game 2-4 with his sixth homer of the year, a double and two runs scored. Lewis Brinson made a triumphant return to the lineup in the win, with the center fielder going 3-4 with a double in his first game played since June 9th.
Bostick (4-3) earned the win for his stellar performance, while Kannapolis starter Robinson Leyer (4-4) took the loss after allowing two runs on six hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over five innings pitched. Kendall earned his team-leading 7th save of the season with the scoreless ninth.
The Crawdads (5-0) are now the lone remaining undefeated team in the South Atlantic League.
Due to a late start time, results from Tuesday's game were not available by press time.