HICKORY – Greenville (S.C.) built a four-run lead by the sixth inning on Monday night and held on to beat Hickory 5-4 in a South Atlantic League (SAL) baseball game that featured five home runs at L.P. Frans Stadium.
With Tyler Hill, Bobby Dalbec and Isaias Lucena each hitting a home run and reliever Matthew Gorst protecting a one-run lead at the end, the Drive handed the Crawdads their eighth loss in 12 games.
Both teams had seven hits, with Hickory’s Andretty Cordero and Ricardo Valencia also hitting one home run each.
The outcome before a crowd of 625 that braved 90-degree temperatures, left Greenville 56-43 overall and 15-15 in the second half. The Drive is in third place in the Southern Division, five games back of division-leading Charleston (S.C.)
Hickory, 43-58 overall and 16-15 in the second half, is in a tight race in the Northern Division. The Crawdads are in third place, 2 ½ games back of leader Delmarva (Md.), a game back of second-place Hagerstown (Md.) and a half-game in front of West Virginia.
Delmarva beat Rome (Ga.) 7-3 and Hagerstown downed Augusta (Ga.) 7-6 on Monday night.
The final game of the Drive-Crawdads series is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. After having Wednesday off, Hickory starts at four-game series in Lakewood, N.J. on Thursday and will go to Hagerstown next Monday to start a series.
On Monday night, Greenville jumped ahead 2-0 in the third inning when Santiago Espinal, who went 2-for-4, singled and stole second before scoring on a home run by Dalbec (his fifth of the season).
The Drive led 3-0 after Lucena hit a solo home run in the fifth inning – his third of the year – and it was 4-0 when Hill, who went 2-for-3, hit a solo shot in the sixth inning (his sixth of the season).
Hickory pulled within 4-3 in the seventh inning when Valencia hit his fifth home run of the year, a two-run shot, and Cordero greeted reliever Hunter Smith with a solo home run. It was Cordero’s second homer since joining the Crawdads.
Espinal’s RBI single in the eighth inning put the Drive up 5-3, and the lead was down to a run when Leody Taveras delivered an RBI single before Gorst came on to get a strikeout and groundball out to keep it at 5-4.
Hidemaro Requena (5-3), the Drive starter, got a win. He pitched five innings, giving up two hits, no runs, walked none and struck out five.
Gorst gained his fourth save of the year after going 1 ½ innings, walking one and striking out one.
Hickory starter Walker Weickel (2-3) took a loss, working seven innings. He gave up five hits, four runs (all earned), walked none and struck out six.
For Monday’s boxscore, click on the link below.