(pictured, Mike Bianucci)
..... there's a drive!
Crawdads lost 6-2 on Wednesday in a game they probably should've won-- on paper, and with the opportunites presented to them on the field.
Hickory faced the Orioles 2008 11th round pick, one Mr. Nathan Morneau, who entered the game with an 11.81 ERA in two starts totalling 5.1 innings pitched.
The left hander presented a very hittable fast ball, an OK change, and a curve ball that refused to bite all night. To his credit, Morneau threw what he had for strikes-- in 4 innings pitched, he threw 85 pitches, 60 for strikes, 7 strikeouts, the final four looking. This was a hitable pitcher who labored, but the scoreboard said he gave up only two runs. Here's how it happened:
First inning: David Paisano and Mike Hollander lead off with singles; they never moved again as Erik Morrison and Matt West struck out, sandwiched around a Mike Bianucci popup to third.
Second inning: Timmy Rodriguez leads off with a bloop single to right, Hogan follows with a screamer to the wall for a double, leaving runners at 2nd and 3rd. Jake Kaase gets a run home on a grounder. Hickory hit into some bad luck, as with the infield drawn in, Edward Martinez hits a sharp, low liner to 1B Joe Mahoney, who dropped the ball, but still had time to record an out at first and hold the runner. Paisano then ended the inning with a liner right at CF Xavier Avery.
Third inning: Hollander leads off with a double, then scores an out later on a Mike Bianucci double. After Bianucci moves to third on a wild pitch, West and Rodriguez strike out.
Fourth inning: A lead off walk comes to no avail as two of the three hitters are caught looking, the other lines out to right.
Delmarva relievers then retire 15 of the final 18 Crawdad hitters, one reached on an error, a second a bunt single. In the final 5 innings, Hickory saw only 49 pitches, only 2 of those innings had double digit pitch counts.
For the most part, it appeared to be a selfish, undisciplined night for the offense, who let a struggling pitcher off the hook and paid for it.
On the pitching side of the ledger, Martin Perez never really got in a groove. It appeared he reverted back to his love for his off speed pitch; the one exception was the fourth inning when he appeared to muscle up for a 1-2-3 inning, the only one of the night, with 2 Ks. Otherwise, Perez, too, was very hittable and just didn't look comforable at all. Seventy-eight pitches: 27 balls, 51 strikes.
Perez gave up only 2 runs, one earned as Bianucci misplayed a single allowing the runners 2 extra bases (doubtless a low sun shining into rightfield at sunset had something to do with it, as he also misjusdged a fly ball into a single in the first.)
But the nail in the coffin was the 2-run homer in the 8th allowed by Jake Brigham to Elvin Polanco. The pitch: an 0-2 FAST BALL RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE. From then on, Brigham struggled to retired the side in the 8th, allowing a 3rd run, with Delmarva missing a chance for more.
The Shorebirds hit a flare shot to RF to plate another in the 9th and that was it.
A very winnable game, but Hickory did not take advantage.
One more night until Hickory takes an 8-gamer to Hagerstown and Delmarva.