KANNAPOLIS, NC – In what was a back and forth game, the Kannapolis Intimidators got their breakthrough in the seventh inning as they got past the Lakewood BlueClaws by the score of 7-2.
As they have all season long, the BlueClaws (19-15) have been getting out to leads only to have the game tied a few innings later. In the first, the BlueClaws took a 1-0 as Harold Garcia singled and stole second before being batted in by a Travis d’Arnaud double.
The Intimidators (18-17) came right back in the bottom of the second as Zach Larson hit a double with Jon Gilmore on first and the game was 1-1. The teams would then trade solo home runs as Garcia led the third off with his second blast of the season and Sergio Morales hit a round-tripper to lead off the fourth. The game would then stay tied at two until the seventh inning.
In relief of starter Jesus Sanchez, Santo Hernandez (1-1) came on in the bottom of the seventh and that’s when the Intimidators did some damage. Jordan Cheatham singled to lead off the inning and then another single by Justin Greene put two runners on the bases for Eduardo Escobar. With the infield in, Escobar hit the ball right between the legs of BlueClaws first baseman Jim Murphy for the first error and then a wild flip from Garcia accounted for another error as two runs scored. Drew Garcia singled home another run and the game was blown open 5-2.
The Intimidators would then add two more runs in the eighth off Esmelvin Jiminez and they racked up a season-high 13 hits in the game.
Sanchez worked well in just his seventh start as a professional. He set a career high, going six innings, allowing just two runs and striking out seven. He has now had back-to-back good outings for the second time this season. Hernandez came on to work the seventh and Jiminez the eighth.
In his second start against the BlueClaws this season, Dexter Carter was again effective in his six innings of work where he allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out eleven batters. Tyson Corley (2-0) then worked the seventh, Leroy Hunt the eighth and Dan Remenowsky a clean ninth.
Despite the loss, the BlueClaws will remain in sole possession of first place in the South Atlantic League Northern division because the game involving the second-place Delmarva Shorebirds was postponed due to rain.
With Kannapolis taking a 2-1 advantage in the four game series, the BlueClaws look for the split on Sunday at 5:05 pm. They will send Jon Velasquez (5-1) to the mound again in search of what has been an elusive sixth victory. He will be opposed by lefty Justin Edwards (1-1).