ASHEVILLE — The Hickory Crawdads’ bats heated up last week at home, and they didn’t cool down during the opener of a six-game road series with the Asheville Tourists on Tuesday night. A total of 2,065 fans attended the contest at Asheville’s McCormick Field, where the Crawdads collected a 15-2 victory.
The win was Hickory’s fourth in its past five games, with the Crawdads (29-38) scoring 50 runs in that stretch. Hickory improved to 15-16 on the road this season, while Asheville (28-37) fell to 20-15 at home.
The Crawdads outhit the Tourists 12-9 while also benefiting from three errors by the Asheville defense. Hickory scored single runs in the second and third innings before adding four in the fifth and nine in the sixth, while the Tourists managed single runs in the seventh and ninth frames.
Three Crawdads homered, with Miguel Aparicio and Trey Hair hitting two-run homers in the fifth before Jake Guenther launched a three-run shot in the sixth. All three blasts came with two outs.
Guenther finished with two hits and four RBIs overall, while Hair had two hits and three RBIs, Jonathan Ornelas and Frainyer Chavez each registered two hits and two RBIs, Kellen Strahm finished with two hits, Aparicio had one hit and two RBIs and Pedro Gonzalez tallied one hit. Their work at the plate came in support of starting pitcher Justin Slaten (3-5), who earned the win thanks to five innings of scoreless, three-hit ball with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
Ben Anderson made his third relief appearance for Hickory, allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts and no walks in three innings. Sean Chandler pitched the ninth, allowing a solo homer and a walk with two outs before retiring the next batter to close out the 13-run win.
Taking the loss for Asheville was starter Tyler Brown, who gave up nine runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. Mark Moclair, Jonathan Sprinkle and Alex Holderbach saw time in relief for the Tourists.
The Tourists stranded nine runners on base and were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position during Tuesday’s series opener. They host Hickory again tonight at 6:35 p.m.