By Ryan Decker
A combined effort from the heart of the Carolina Coyotes (3-18) order proved to be more than enough in a lopsided 17-7 victory over the Charlotte Crushers (14-16) Friday night at Craven Stadium.
As a team, the Coyotes combined for their 17 runs on 21 hits, with a bulk of that production coming from the Nos. 3, 4, and 5 hitters in the lineup.
Carolina cleanup hitter Grady Wright went 4-for-5 at the plate with a total of six runs batted in.
Four of those six RBI came with one swing of the bat in the second inning.
With already three runs having scored in the inning, Wright gave the Coyotes a 9-0 lead on a line drive grand slam over the right-field wall.
Tyler Hill also had a productive day at the plate, hitting 3-for-6 with four runs batted in. Three of the runs he drove in came around to score on a bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs.
Ryan Jones accompanied Hill and Wright as Coyotes with multi-RBI performances.
Hill, Wright, and Jones were a combined 7-for-14 from the plate with twelve RBI.
Charlotte starting pitcher Jacob Barker, who lasted just three innings on the mound, surrendered the first 11 Carolina hits and ten runs.
Carolina plated runs in six of its eight at bats and multiple runs in four innings. The seven-run second inning is the most runs the Coyotes have scored in an inning this year.
Charlotte’s offense didn’t show up until the sixth inning, which began a streak of three consecutive multi-run innings for the Crushers.
Justin Williams and Noah Whalen produced runs in the sixth, while Sam De La Cruz and James Porcelly pushed runs across in the seventh cutting the deficit to 14-5.
The Crushers added two more runs in the eighth, one on a double by Josh Hollifield and the other on a sacrifice fly by De La Cruz.
With the loss, the Crushers have now lost five of their last six games.
Rally time too late
Prior to the sixth inning, the Crushers had collected just two hits – one by Max Barrios and the other by Joseph Hill.
In the sixth, Hill, Williams, and Seth Spillman all tallied base knocks.
After the conclusion of the fifth inning, Charlotte scored all seven of its runs and seven of its nine hits.
Four Crusher players have been selected to compete in Saturday’s CVCL All-Star Game at Lenoir-Rhyne University.