CHARLESTON, SC - Hickory Crawdads starting pitcher C.J. Edwards (3-1) baffled the Charleston RiverDogs offense in a 2-1 victory in South Atlantic League play Thursday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 5,362 fans.
With the loss, the RiverDogs (15-15) remain in fifth place of the Southern Division while the Crawdads (19-13) are in second place of the Northern Division.
It was a scoreless affair for the first three innings of the night in a pitchers' duel between RiverDogs starting pitcher Cesar Vargas and Edwards for Hickory. In his first outing in over 2 weeks, Vargas' night was cut short as he was relieved by Daniel Camarena in the third inning. In 2.2 innings of work, Vargas allowed no hits, no runs, and recorded four strikeouts.
Hickory broke the 0-0 tie in the top of the fourth on a Nomar Mazara single to right field that scored Joey Gallo.
The RiverDogs answered in the bottom of the sixth. With one out and Claudio Custodio on third, Cito Culver struck out on a pitch in the dirt. As Hickory threw to first on the dropped third strike, Custodio was able to sprint home and score the tying run.
Derek Varnadore (0-2) entered the game for Camarena in the seventh inning. Camarena allowed one run on three hits and struck out four batters in 3.1 innings of work but was not a factor in the decision.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Hickory regained the lead. Jordan Akins reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to third on a balk by Varnadore. He then scored the winning run on a dropped third strike that went to the backstop and made the score 2-1.
After pitching seven strong innings for the Crawdads, Edwards was relieved by Alex Claudio. Edwards allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight batters as he picked up his third win of the season.
Charleston threatened in the bottom of the eighth. Taylor Dugas led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a balk, and then went to third on a sacrifice bunt. Dugas was left stranded, however, as Culver struck out to end the inning.
Claudio returned to the mound for the Crawdads in the bottom of the ninth. He pitched a scoreless inning as he earned his fourth save and gave Varnadore his second loss of the year.