Bill on Baseball:Moran’s homer wins it in the 10th inning

Posted by Guest Columnist on August 22, 2013 at 10:08 am under Professional | Comments are off for this article

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at

Moran’s homer wins it in the 10th inning

Colin Moran pondered the question for a moment: When was the last time he hit a walk-off home run?

“I don’t think I’ve ever hit one,” he said. “At least, not that I remember.”

The No. 1 draft pick of the Miami Marlins has had walk-off hits in his career during college and high school, but never one that left the park.

Now he has one for his memory bank. In the bottom of the 10th inning of a tie game, Moran crushed a pitch from Delmarva’s Casey Upperman and sent it far over the right field fence to give the Hoppers a 4-3 victory.

“There was no doubt about that one,” said manager Jorge Hernandez.

It was Moran’s third hit of the game — his second straight with three hits — as he continued his hot streak. In his last six games Moran is 12-for-24 with a pair of homers, three RBIs and six runs scored. He has raised his average to .286 in 32 games since he joined the team after signing.

“I’ve played more games and I feel more comfortable,” he said. “Getting ready to play every day has been the biggest adjustment from college.”

Moran was ready for Upperman’s pitch. He said he thought the pitcher might try to sneak a fastball inside and that’s what he got.

“It feels good,” he said, “because you know the game is over.”

Moran said he has been working with hitting coach Frank Moore, who deflected any credit.

“The only change is that early on, balls he hit hard weren’t falling in,” Moore said. “Now they’re finding holes and he’s having more success. He’s settling down and making solid contact. Whenever you start getting hits, it relaxes you more and relieves the pressure.”

Moran got the headline, of course, but he had plenty of help. Blake Barber, who drove in the winning run in Monday’s 11-10 win in 13 innings, had three more hits. He started two rallies, in the seventh and ninth, with base hits and came around to score both times.

Cody Keefer got the Hoppers on the board with an RBI on a groundout in the fifth inning to cut Delmarva’s lead to 3-1. Keefer drove in Barber with a single past the Shorebirds’ drawn-in infield in the ninth to tie the game.

Catcher Jose Behar played a key role in three runs. His sacrifice bunt moved Viosergy Rosa into scoring position in the fifth and Rosa scored on Keefer’s groundout. In the seventh, after Barber singled and went to second on a wild pitch, Behar drove him in with a double. And in the ninth, another sacrifice moved Barber from second to third and led to Keefer’s RBI single.

“You go up there knowing you have to move the runner over,” Behar said of his bunts, both down the first base side. “It’s just a matter of getting the job done.

“The double got the monkey off my back. I had been getting away from hitting the ball to right field, so I’ve been working on getting back to my old approach.”

On the pitching side, starter Matt Milroy gave up three runs in five innings and then the bullpen shut down the Shorebirds. Sean Donatello pitched two scoreless innings and Jheyson Manzueta fired three more, picking up the win.

“Donatello keeps the ball down, mixes his pitches and competes,” said pitching coach Blake McGinley. “Manzueta got on top on his curve ball, kept his fastball down and had a good changeup.”

The Hoppers will go for the sweep with a 7 p.m. game Thursday. That will also end the seven-game home stand that began with four losses to Kannapolis.

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