BLUECLAWS PITCH THEIR WAY TO SERIES WIN IN FINALE
from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:
GREENSBORO, NC â€“ Lakewood starter Tyler Cloyd was as advertised this afternoon, pitching the BlueClaws to a 4-3 victory in the Tuesday finale.
Cloyd (6-2) entered the contest as the leagueâ€™s leader in innings pitched and rounds out the top four in strikeouts. His outing this afternoon mirrored his season numbers, working 6 1/3 innings to fan three.
The Lakewood ace has been the staffâ€™s workhouse this year, hurling at least six innings in all but one outing while leading all pitchers with six wins on the year. Cloyd cruised towards the win, forcing the Grasshoppers to leave 12 men on base.
The Hopperâ€™s struggled to manufacture runs for the second straight game, as the Hoppers tallied 12 hits but managed only three runs. The frustrations began in the home half of the first when center fielder Anthony Gose made a diving grab in the right-center gap to rob Jeremy Synan of an RBI double.
The Hopperâ€™s struggles continued in the sixth when the BlueClaw ace induced two fieldersâ€™ choices and a groundout to strand three runners, as the Grasshoppers failed to capitalize on three singles to begin the inning.
Cloyd left the game in the seventh inning and called on sidewinder Ryan Bergh to shut the door for the BlueClaws.
Ben Lasater welcomed Bergh immediately with an RBI double on the first pitch before Jake Smolinski followed suite with a double of his own. The Grasshoppers battled for two runs in the seventh, but rallied to no avail as the BlueClaws scored an insurance run in the eighth after a lead off triple by James Murphy.
Synan belted his 8th home run of the season in Hoppersâ€™ last at-bat, a deep drive over the scoreboard in right field. Synanâ€™s second home run in two days brought the Hoppers back within one, but couldnâ€™t scratch another run in the frame and ultimately dropped the finale to the BlueClaws.
Smolinski led the Hoppers offensively, tallying his second three-hit performance in two contests. Catcher Kyle Skipworth added his second multi-hit performance of the year, while Kevin Mattison and Justin Bass each chimed in with two-hit days as well.
Bass has been outstanding over the past week, amassing 18 hits in his last 10 games, batting .514 with six home runs during the stretch.
With the loss, the Hoppers (26-26) drop just their second home series of the season and fall another game behind Lakewood in the Northern Division standings. The Hoppers will try to keep pace with the streaky BlueClaws Thursday when they take on the Hickory Crawdads at NewBridge Bank Park. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball