The Will call from Hoppers-Captains on Monday

Posted by Andy Durham on July 7, 2009 at 9:12 am under Professional | Comments are off for this article


from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:

GREENSBORO, NC—The Grasshoppers wound up on the wrong side of Monday’s extra inning pitching duel, dropping game three to the Captains after the Lake County pitching staff combined to surrender just one run on nine hits.

The Monday match up had all the workings of a classic pitcher’s duel, seeing Lake County lefty TJ House work past a deep double off the bat of Jake Smolinski in the first. House toed the rubber unbothered in the next at-bat to force a groundout to end the inning.

A leadoff single off the bat of Jeremy Synan followed by a fielding error landed House in hot water again in the next inning, but he worked past the jam by striking out two Hoppers to strand runners at second and third.

House left the ballgame after five innings, but kept the Hoppers’ offense guessing after scattering four hits and holding the home team scoreless. But Hoppers’ starter Tom Koehler was up to the task of matching House pitch for pitch, as Koehler hurled eight innings of one run baseball to keep the Hoppers within striking distance in the pitchers’ duel.

Koehler turned in his longest outing of the season, and fell one strikeout shy of his career-high by fanning seven over his eight innings of work. With the seven K performance, Koehler has now sat down at least five in eight of his 13 starts on the season.

Lake County scratched their lone run of Koehler in the fifth, when the Captains tallied three of their five hits off Koehler to bring home the first run of the ballgame. The Captains would carry their one run lead into the eighth inning until the Grasshoppers worked three men on base to manufacture the tying run.

Smolinski began the inning with a double down the left field line, and moved around to third after a walk and fielders’ choice left runners at the corners. Justin Bass picked up the RBI in the next at-bat, skying a sacrifice fly to right field and knotting up the score at one apiece.

After a scoreless ninth inning by both sides, the game went into extra-innings to determine a winner. Each club kept pace on the mound, shutting down opposing hitters to keep the score deadlocked through the 10th inning.

The wheels started to fall off for the Hoppers in the top half of the 11th, despite recording two strikeouts through the first three hitters of the inning. But with two outs and a man on first, Bo Greenwell drove a deep fly ball off the scoreboard in right field to help the Captains to a 3-1 lead. An error in the field in the following at-bat prolonged the inning, keeping things going just long enough for Chris Nash to single to centerfield and hustle around to score after a defensive miscue in the outfield. The three-base error brought in two, and extended the Captains’ lead to four.

The Hoppers couldn’t get much going in their final at-bat, going down in order to drop their second game in three days to the Captains, and falling to 3-8 in the second half.

The Hoppers (40-41) will continue the series tomorrow(Tuesday) when they play host to the Captains for the finale. The Hoppers will try to salvage the series split when they send lefty Brad Hand to the hill to face off against Danny Salazar.

First pitch of the afternoon contest is slated for 12:35 p.m.

Will Cornelius
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball

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