The Kannapolis Intimidators and Lakewood Blue Claws opened up a best-of-three playoff series last night. The Intimidators had the luxury of hosting the BlueClaws in the series opener, however, the BlueClaws came out on top in a 4-2 win.
Right-hander Zach Lewis got the starting nod for the Intimidators and pitched a great game, despite not being able to get the win. The Intimidators quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning, but were unable to hold on to the lead.
Lewis had eight strikeouts on the evening, with at least one in each inning he pitched. The BlueClaws took advantage of a few mistakes in the fourth inning, using three consecutive hits, with one of them being a home run, making it a 2-2 game.
He did a great job keeping the ball on the ground throughout his outing and his defense stayed sharp behind him, minus two errors. The errors never amounted to any runs and Zach Lewis kept the Intimidators in a great position to get the win during his time on the mound.
Final Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 8 K. 96 pitches, 59 strikes.
The Intimidators got the scoring started in the bottom half of the first. After Luis Curbelo was hit by a pitch and Steele Walker singled, Curbelo would come around to score on a Tate Blackman RBI single. Walker would advance to third on a wild pitch and would then score on a Carlos Perez RBI single, giving the Intimidators a 2-0 lead early.
The Intimidators would cling to their lead until the previously mentioned two-run fourth inning by the BlueClaws that would tie the game. Both teams would remain scoreless for most of the game. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Intimidators were threatening to break the tie. with two outs in the inning, Tate Blackman singled and Craig Dedelow drew a walk, putting two runners on for Carlos Perez who already drove in one-run earlier in the game.
Perez would single and Tate Blackman gave it his best effort on the base path, trying to break the tie and was thrown out at home in the process. This would go on to be a major factor in the game as Lakewood plated two more runs in the following inning to beat the Intimidators 4-2.
Our Clinton Cole had the opportunity to interview Luis Curbelo before the game. Curbelo was a 2016 sixth-round selection as a shortstop out of Cocoa High School in Florida. They discuss his time in Kannapolis, where he feels comfortable defensively, his off-season goals, and more. You can view the entire interview below:
The Intimidators and BlueClaws will be back in action tomorrow night as they travel to Lakewood for the next game. The Intimidators have their back up against the wall and will need to win the next two games to keep their season alive. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 CT.
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