from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at www.gsohoppers.com:
Hoppers start finals in Asheville
The Asheville Tourists beat the Rome Braves 4-3 Saturday night to earn the spot opposite the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League championship series.
Asheville will host the Hoppers Monday and Tuesday nights in the first games of the best-of-5 series. After a day off Wednesday, the series will play out in NewBridge Bank Park with a game Thursday and, if necessary, Friday and Saturday.
The Hoppers took the Northern Division series in two straight games over Hagerstown, 3-1 on the road and 7-5 at home Friday.
Asheville dropped the opener of the Southern Division series on the road, 5-3, but came back to win Friday and Saturday. The Tourists won the first half of the division and finished the season with the best overall record in the league, 88-52.
Despite being just three hours apart, the teams played just one series during the season. That was July 19-22 in Asheville and the Hoppers won three of four games. They took the series opener 6-5, lost the second game 11-3, won the third 3-1 behind Charlie Lowell land the fourth 3-2 behind Jose Urena. Matt Smith hit three homers in the series.
The Hoppers are leaning toward Andrew Heaney as the opening-game pitcher. He beat Hagerstown Wednesday, throwing seven shutout innings.
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