SALISBURY, Md. -- The Hickory Crawdads punched their ticket to the South Atlantic League championship series as they defeated the Delmarva Shorebirds 1-0 in Game 2 of their best-of-three Northern Division series on Friday night in 10 innings.
Abdiel Mendoza delivered a stellar performance for the Crawdads. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a walk and a single with one out. Hever Bueno took over, getting out of the jam by inducing a double play. Bueno pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, but the Crawdads were unable to get any runs across, sending the game into extra innings.
The Crawdads scored in the 10th to take a 1-0 lead. Kole Enright drew a leadoff walk and advanced as Matt Whatley was hit by a pitch. Hickory loaded the bases as Frainyer Chavez drew a base on balls. Jax Biggers laid down a sacrifice bunt that Enright dashed home on to score the game's only run.
Kelvin Gonzalez came in to close out the game for the Crawdads in the bottom of the 10th inning. After striking out the first batter of the inning, Gonzalez allowed a single and a hit batsman to put two runners on. Gonzalez ended the game by inducing a double play, punching Hickory's ticket to the SAL championship.
The Crawdads will return to L.P. Frans Stadium on Monday night to begin a best-of-five series against the Lexington (Kentucky) Legends, who swept the Augusta GreenJackets to win the Southern Division. Games 1 and 2 will take place in Hickory on Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. Fans who donate items for the hurricane relief can get a free ticket to the game. Games 3-5 will be in Lexington next Thursday through Saturday (if necessary).