from Bill Hass with Bill on Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball at www.gsohoppers.com…..
Series tied; next 2 games in Greensboro
Conventional wisdom says that in a playoff series, the aim is to split on the road and win at home.
So the Hoppers will head to Greensboro with their South Atlantic League championship series against Asheville tied at one game apiece.
The Tourists laid a 10-3 whipping on Greensboro Tuesday night to square things after the Hoppers won the opening game Monday 6-3.
The teams are off Wednesday, so the best-of-5 series will continue with two games at NewBridge Bank Park on Thursday and Friday. If needed, a deciding game will be played Saturday.
Asheville, which led the SAL with 88 wins in the regular season, settled the issue early, scoring five times in the first inning and twice more in the second against Hoppers starter Jose Urena. With that advantage, Tourist starter Danny Winkler dominated the Hoppers, shutting them out for seven innings, allowing five hits, walking one and striking out 12.
Urena, one of the Hoppers’ steadiest pitchers, hadn’t been in a game since Sept. 1 and the rust showed early when Trevor Story touched him for a leadoff homer/ He struck out the next batter but then gave up five more hits in the inning that resulted in four more runs. Will Swanner’s two-run single in the second increased the lead to 7-0.
Eventually Scott Lyman, James Nygren, Johnny Omahen, Charlie Lowell and Casey McCarthy also saw action on the mound. The Hoppers didn’t help themselves defensively, committing four errors.
The Hoppers’ offense couldn’t get anything going until, down 10-0, it produced three cosmetic runs in the ninth inning. Ryan Goetz picked up a pair of RBIs and Austin Nola had the other.
Greensboro’s best chance to get back in the game came in the fourth inning. With two runners on, Matt Smith lifted a high fly to right field that was caught against the fence. Smith had hit a home run to the same spot Monday night.
Story scored four runs for the Tourists and Taylor Featherston went 4-for-4 and scored three times.
Jake Esch will start Thursday’s game for the Hoppers and Josh Hodges is scheduled Friday.
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