from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:
Hoppers Hold Off Crawdads In Game Two
GREENSBORO, NC — The Grasshoppersâ€™ offense struck for 12 hits Tuesday afternoon, supporting starter Brad Hand (6-11) and the rest of the staff as they pitched their way past the Crawdads in todayâ€™s game two match up, 5-2.
Hand, who now has two straight wins to his credit, came out firing early. The lefty struck out the first two hitters he faced in the opening frame, but drilled the third batter to eliminate the chance of the perfect inning.
He did, however, regain his composure after the lapse in command, and fanned the next hitter to register all three outs via the strikeout. Hand struck out one more over his remaining four innings, and finished the afternoon having regained the team lead in punch outs.
Meanwhile, the offense ignited in the first frame as well, and gave the young southpaw an early lead thanks to a hot shot off the bat of Jeremy Synan. The line drive skipped off the short stopâ€™s glove and into left field to bring home Kevin Mattison for an early one-run advantage.
Hand went back to work with the lead in the second, where he sat the Crawdads down in order. He did allow two runs in the following inning, but shut down the opposing offense over his final two innings to exit the ball game in line for the win after holding Hickory scoreless for four frames.
Handâ€™s success on the bump, where he scattered just four hits over five innings, sparked the rest of the Hoppersâ€™ club, as both the bullpen and the bats responded to put away the Crawdads over the final four innings of play.
It was the offense that answered the call first, overcoming a one-run deficit in the fourth inning by posting a two-run inning. The Crawdads, who had taken the lead in the previous inning, allowed a leadoff double to Ryan Keedy, who later came around to score after Daniel Pertusati and Kyle Skipworth added a pair of singles.
The Hoppers used small to manufacture their next run, as Emilio Ontiveros placed a perfect bunt down the first baseline to plate Pertusati for the final run of the inning.
The bullpen took over after watching the offense recapture the lead, and preserved what would become Handâ€™s sixth win of the season.
Bryan Evans entered the game first, and tossed two scoreless innings to keep the streak of four scoreless frames in tact. Evans did allow two hits over his two innings of relief, but stranded both runners before handing the ball to hold man Dan Jennings.
Jennings worked a quick eighth inning, retiring the Crawdads in order and recording a strikeout for the final out of the inning. Jenningsâ€™ now owns 11 holds on the season, tops among all Hoppersâ€™ relievers.
After Jennings took care of business in the eighth, Keedy stepped to the plate in the bottom half and jacked a two-run homer to add two insurance runs to the Hoppersâ€™ runs column.
Now with a three-run cushion, Pete Andrelczyk toed the rubber to pick up his 19th save of the year, and his second in as many games this series.
The win was Handâ€™s third in his last five decisions, and gave the Grasshoppers (50-58) a two-game winning streak, only their third such streak since the beginning of the second half.
The Hoppers, now on a five-game winning streak against Hickory at home, look to match the seasonâ€™s longest winning streak tomorrow when they host the Crawdads for the third game of the current series.
First pitch of the Thursday night contest is slated for 7:05 p.m.
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball