The Will call on Friday’s Hoppers-RiverDogs game at NBBP

Posted by Andy Durham on July 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:

Hoppers Drop Close One To RiverDogs, 5-4

GREENSBORO, NC — The Grasshoppers fell short in their comeback effort against Charleston Friday night, as the visiting RiverDogs outlasted the Hoppers in a back and forth scoring battle, 5-4.
Hoppers starter Brad Hand avoided what would have been his 11th loss of the season, as the lefty tossed five innings of one-run baseball. The second round pick worked out of a first inning pickle, where he erased a pair of singles via a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out.

Despite coming up empty handed in the first, Charleston carried their momentum into the next inning, using a leadoff double as a catalyst for their one-run inning. Two batters later, catcher Mitch Abeita snuck one by a diving Emilio Ontiveros for the game’s first run.

But the Grasshoppers refused to roll into the third inning with a one run deficit, as Ryan Keedy countered the Charleston second with a leadoff single. Keedy swiped second base in the next at-bat, and tied the ball game when he crossed the plate on a Torre Langley fielders’ choice.

After each team tabbed a run through the first two innings of the contest, Hand and Charleston starter Brandon Braboy each dealt three scoreless innings to keep the opposing offenses at bay.

Hand finished the contest having scattered 11 hits, but surrendered just the one run while fanning seven, which tied his season-high for strikeouts. Braboy didn’t find success with the strikeout, but exited the contest having allowed just one run on three hits.

In fact, Braboy was near perfect after the Grasshoppers struck for their first run, as the righty retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced, with the only baserunner reaching on a free pass.

Keeping even with the ebb and flow of the game, Grasshoppers’ righty Jared Yecker entered the ball game and tossed a scoreless sixth inning. Charleston reliever Gabriel Tatis came on for Braboy, and went frame for frame with Yecker, tossing a scoreless inning of his own to keep the score even at one.

The Hoppers ran into a buzz saw in the ensuing inning however, seeing two runners reach safely on a pair of singles. Corban Joseph popped out to center in the next at-bat, but advanced both runners into scoring position with the routine fly out.

With runners at second and third an only one out, the Hoppers opted to intentionally walk the powerful Melky Mesa. Mesa, however, never saw his at-bat figure into the scoring, as a wild pitch during the intentional walk brought home the go ahead run.

The Hoppers rallied for two runs in the home half, as the determined Hoppers refused to allow Charleston to close the inning with a lead.

A leadoff walk by Justin Jacobs got things going for the Hoppers, while a wild pitch moved him up to second. Tatis would eventually register the third strike during Paul Gran’s at-bat, but bounced the final pitch in the dirt allowing Gran to reach first and Jacobs to third.

Gran swiped second a few pitches later, leaving two runners in scoring position with just one out in the inning. Isaac Galloway was the clutch performer for the Hoppers, as he dropped a single into centerfield to plate both runs and give the home team a one run advantage.

But it was Charleston who laughed last, as a three spot in the eighth put the RiverDogs back on top 5-3.

The Grasshoppers cut the lead in half with a Jake Smolinski solo shot in the eighth inning, but failed to score the tying run from second base, taking them into the final frame still trailing the RiverDogs by one run.

Lefty Andrew Loomis held Charleston scoreless in the ninth to give the Hoppers a chance in their final at-bat, but the Hoppers went down quietly to drop game three 5-4.

The Hoppers’ (45-52) loss gave Charleston a one game advantage in the series, and halted the Hoppers’ chance at winning two straight games, a feat accomplished just once since the All-Star break. They will square off with the RiverDogs again tomorrow in the series finale, where the Hoppers attempt to walk away from the four-game set with a spit.

Tonight’s first pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m., with fireworks immediately following the game.

Will Cornelius
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball

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