LAKEWOOD, N.J. –The bottom of the Hickory Crawdads’ batting order did the hard work on Thursday night in a 7-2 victory over Lakewood (N.J.).
Batting sixth through ninth, respectively, Yohel Pozo, Anderson Tejeda, Franklin Rollin and Eric Jenkins combined to go 5-for-16, score four runs and drive in five as the visiting Crawdads won a South Atlantic League baseball game before 6,645.
Hickory continues its road trip with three more games in Lakewood – Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m. – before starting a series at Hagerstown (Md.) on Monday night.
On Thursday night, Pozo had two hits — one a triple — and drove in two runs while Tejeda, Rollin and Jenkins each added an RBI. Pozo is hitting .306 in his last 10 games.
The Crawdads (45-58, 18-15 second half) did all the scoring over the final three innings to win for the fourth time in five games.
The game was tied at 2 heading into the top of the eighth inning. That’s when Hickory scored four runs, all with two outs. Brallen Perez singled and Leody Taveras walked before the BlueClaws brought Tyler Hellead to relieve starting pitcher Mauricio Llovera.
After a wild pitch moved runners up, Andretty Cordero singled to put Hickory up 3-2. A passed ball scored another run and Pozo tripled, scoring two runs, to give the Crawdads a 6-2 edge.
Hickory scored in the eighth inning on back-to-back doubles by Rollin and Jenkins.
The bottom four in the batting order had five of Hickory’s seven hits while Arquimedes Gamboa drove in a run and Raul Rivas had two hits for Lakewood, which also had seven hits.
Hickory went up 2-0 in the second inning via a single by Charles Leblanc, who scored on Tejeda’s triple, and an RBI groundout by Rollin.
Gamoboa drove in a run for the BlueClaws in the third inning, make it 2-1, and Lakewood tied it with a run in the bottom of the sixth on a run-scoring groundball out by Jesus Alustre with the bases loaded.
Jacob Lemoine (1-2) pitched two innings of relief for Hickory, gaining a win. He gave up one hit struck out two after replacing starter Reid Anderson (six innings, five hits, two runs (both earned) with one walk and four strikeouts).
Hellead ((1-1) got the win for Lakewood after going 1 2/3 innings. He gave up one hit, two runs (both earned), walked one and struck out two. Llovera started for the BlueClaws (six innings, two hits, two runs, three walks, five strikeouts).
Lakewood dropped to 54-49 overall in losing and is 14-19 in the second half.
Hickory is still in a tight race for the SAL Northern Division lead, sitting a game back of Hagerstown (Md.) and 1 ½ games back of division-leading Delmarva (Md.). The Crawdads hold third by a full game over Greensboro.
Greensboro beat Delmarva 6-5 on Thursday night and Hagerstown downed West Virginia 6-3.