Bill Hass on Baseball


GREENSBORO, N.C. – It all came back to Logan Morrison Monday night.

The first baseman snapped a deep slump with a bases-loaded double that propelled the Greensboro Grasshoppers to an 8-4 win over the Rome Braves before 4,748 fans at First Horizon Park.

Mired in a 2-for-29 slump, Morrison came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth and the game tied 2-2. He swung and missed at the first pitch, took a ball on the second, then unloaded a drive off the wall in center field to clear the bases.

“At the beginning of a slump, you think you’re going to get out of it and you don’t press,” Morrison said. “Then it gets old and you start pressing and question yourself about your mechanics. You think you don’t remember how to hit.

“On that at-bat, I was looking for a ball I could hit in the air. That’s why I swung at the first one, which was nearly over my head. On the third one, it was elevated enough that I put good wood on it.”

It gave the Hoppers a 5-2 lead that got shaved to 5-4. Morrison was involved in an insurance run in the seventh when he hit a solid single with two outs, then broke for second base with Daniel Santin up. Santin doubled down the line and Morrison scored to make it 6-4.

The Hoppers added some additional insurance in the eighth when Justin Webb doubled, John Raynor walked and both scored on a double by James Guerrero.

“We had a lot of clutch hits tonight,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez. “Morrison is just tired and when that happens, your mechanics are off and you try to do too much. Hopefully he will settle down now.”

Spike McDougall added a pair of RBIs with a triple in the third inning and a single in the fifth. Raynor scored twice to push his runs scored to 105 and stole a base to give him 53, both tops in the South Atlantic League.

Rodriguez pointed to a key defensive play by third baseman Jake Blackwood in the fifth inning. With runners on first and third and no one out, Blackwood went to his right to spear a grounder by Rome’s Travis Jones. Victor Hernandez broke off third base and was caught in a rundown and tagged out. Christian Martinez then got Brandon Hicks to hit into a double play to end the inning.

“If that ball goes down the line, it’s a different ball game,” Rodriguez said of Blackwood’s play.

Martinez pitched six innings, giving up all four Rome runs, but earned his eighth win. Benito Beato, Chris Leroux and Blake Jones pitched an inning apiece without allowing a run. The four Hoppers pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.

Rome scored its runs on a pair of two-run homers, by Jones in the third inning and Yohan Silva in the sixth. It was the seventh for Jones, a seventh-round draft pick by Atlanta this year, and the 10th for Silva.

The teams play the third game of the series Tuesday at 7 p.m. at First Horizon.
*****Check out all of the Bill on Baseball articles at*****