Note: E.J. Jenkins is a graduate of West Columbus High School.
LEXINGTON, KY (CRAWDADS) — A hot-hitting Hickory Crawdads team put together their most dominant offensive performance of the year Thursday night, as the ‘Dads scored a season-high 19 runs on a season-best 20 hits in a runaway 19-4 win over the Lexington Legends at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Eight of the nine batters in the Crawdads lineup finished the night with a multi-hit game, while five separate players came away with multiple RBIs. Tyler Sanchez led the charge with a 4-5 game including a home run, double, and five RBIs, the most by a Hickory hitter in a contest this season.Eric Jenkins also posted his most impressive offensive performance of the year, finishing 3-5 with a homer, two triples, four RBI, and three runs scored.
The onslaught began with a 7-run second inning, tied for the largest single inning by the ‘Dads bats this season. 11 total batters came to the plate in the monster frame, starting with back-to-back singles by Ti’Quan Forbes and Chuck Moorman followed by a one-out RBI base knock fromSherman Lacrus to get the Crawdads on the board. Jenkins followed with the big blast of the inning when he lined a 3-run homer to left-center field for a 4-0 Hickory lead. The rally continued from there with a walk by Josh Altmann, a single from LeDarious Clark, and a 2-RBI double off the bat of Sanchez. Sanchez would come home to score two batters later on an RBI groundout from Forbes to cap off the 7-run eruption.
The Crawdads followed up their breakout second inning with a 6-run outburst in the third to make the score 13-0. Connor McKay and Lacrus started the surge with consecutive singles, before Jenkins flew out to left field fro the first out of the frame. The next five batters would all produce run scoring hits, starting with a 2-RBI double from Altmann, an RBI triple by Clark, an RBI base knock to left from Sanchez, another RBI triple off the bat of Yeyson Yrizarri, and finally an RBI single to left by Forbes.
The relentless Hickory offense kept their foot on the gas with three more runs in the fourth, this time with RBI singles by Sanchez and Yrizarri joining an RBI fielder’s choice groundout from Forbes that made the ‘Dads lead 16-0. The Legends finally got on the board when Xavier Fernandez pulled a 3-run long ball to left in the fourth to make the score 16-3. Roman Collins then took Crawdads starting pitcher Luke Lanphere deep with a solo shot in the fifth that cut the ‘Dads advantage to 16-4.
That would be as close as Lexington would get however, as Hickory plated two more runs on an RBI triple by Jenkins and an RBI groundout from Altmann in the eighth before Sanchez put an exclamation mark on the night with a solo home run in the ninth for the final 19-4 score.
Lanphere (1-0) earned the win while making his Crawdads debut, with four runs allowed on six hits and seven strikeouts over his six innings pitched. Hickory relievers Jacob Shortslef (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K) and Garrett Brummett (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K) finished the game off with three combined shutout frames. Lexington starter Gerson Garabito (2-7) took the loss after giving up seven runs on six hits, three walks, and two strikeouts over 1.1 IP.
The Crawdads (21-17/60-49) have now won five straight games for the second time this season. The ‘Dads and Legends (17-22/42-66) will play again Friday night at 7:05 pm, in game two of their four-game series.