HICKORY, N.C. – Trevor May had a record-breaking Wednesday night, and the BlueClaws bats picked up right where they left off in the regular season as Lakewood crushed Hickory 7-0 in Game One of the Northern Division Championship Series.
The 20-year old right-hander May (1-0) struck out a BlueClaws playoff record 13, while scattering just four hits over 6 2/3 innings to lead the Claws to a 1-0 series lead. Both teams will not head back to Lakewood for Game Two Friday night.
While May took care of Hickory’s offense, the BlueClaws jumped all over Crawdads starter Neil Ramirez (0-1).
The Claws opened the scoring in the third with some help. Jeremy Barnes singled on a pop fly that dropped between two Crawdad fielders, and Keoni Ruth reached on an error as centerfielder Guillermo Pimentel dropped a routine fly ball. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Barnes came in on a wild pitch, and Jiwan James hit a sacrifice fly to put Lakewood up 2-0.
Sebastian Valle extended the lead to three with a solo shot in the third. It was his team-leading 17th home run of the season.
The Claws bats then blew the game open in the fifth. Barnes hit a leadoff single, Ruth doubled, and Alan Schoenberger hit a three run blast to right, his sixth of the season, to make it a 6-0 ballgame.
Jonathan Singleton added a home run of his own with two outs in the inning to give Lakewood a 7-0 edge.
Ramirez was pulled heading into the sixth, giving up all seven runs (five earned) on six hits.
May finally ran out of gas in the seventh, as Hickory loaded the bases with two outs, but 22-year old righty Eric Pettis made his Lakewood debut out of the bullpen and got out of the jam with one pitch to preserve the shutout.
7:05 pm on Friday The Claws will host Game Two with a chance to eliminate the Crawdads. All-Time Lakewood is 4-2 when trying to eliminate opponents. RHP Brody Colvin (6-8, 3.39) will go up against ‘Dads LHP Robert Erlin (6-3, 2.12).
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