Hoppers start season on the Road:An inside look from Justin Stottlemyre

The Greensboro Grasshoppers get things started on the road tonight and here’s an inside look at the team from media assistant Justin Stottlemyre.

Today’s Game

Greensboro (0-0) vs. Augusta (0-0)

Starting Pitchers:
RHP Hector Correa (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Steven Calicutt (0-0, 0.00)

Game Information:
Start Time: 7:05 p.m.
Ballpark: Lake Olmestead Stadium (4,822)
Location: Augusta, Ga.

Opening Day: Greensboro has posted a perfect 3-0 record since the organization changed its face to the Grasshoppers at the beginning of the 2005 season… The Grasshoppers played their first game at Hickory (4/7/05), earning a 12-0 victory… The contest saw Greensboro hit three home runs and SS Brian Cleveland drove five (5) runs during the 11-hit affair… The following season Greensboro hosted its lone-to-date season-opener at home with an 11-7 victory over Hagerstown (4/6/06) in front of 9,110 fans… The win was the first in a four-game sweep of the Suns… In 2007, the Grasshoppers hit the road for Lakewood to open their campaign; the result, another 11-7 season-opening victory (4/5/07)… Greensboro posted nine runs in the first inning and never looked back as Graham Taylor threw 6.0 innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out seven batters.

On the Mound: The Grasshoppers have received two quality starts in three Opening Day performances… In 2005, Jason Vargas pitched 6.0 shutout innings of baseball, allowing just four hits while striking out six to pick up the win… The following season, 2006, Chris Volstad lasted just 4.0 innings, two outs longer than his counterpart from Hagerstown, and gave up five runs on six hits, including a home run before giving way to the bullpen where Mauro Zarate picked up the win… Last season, Taylor struck out seven batters in 6.0 innings of one-run baseball en route to the season-opening victory.

This Day in Hoppers History: The Greensboro Grasshoppers are playing for the first time ever on April 3. The 2008 season-opener is two days earlier than the Grasshoppers have ever played a regular season contest.

Against the GreenJackets: The Grasshoppers are 6-18 all-time against Augusta, including a 2-10 record at Lake Olmestead Stadium… The Grasshoppers posted a 1-7 record against the GreenJackets last season and last visited Augusta for a four-game series (May 29-June 1, 2007)… Greensboro dropped all four games and were out-scored 23-10 by the GreenJackets… All-time, the GreenJackets have out-scored the Grasshoppers 129-91.

Top Prospects: Matt Dominguez and Mike Stanton headline Greensboro Opening Day roster. Dominguez, the Marlins’ top pick in the 2007 draft (12th overall), is the highest touted third-baseman on the Marlins’ prospect list printed in Baseball America and enters his first full season of professional baseball after playing five games with the Gulf Coast Marlins and 10 games with Jamestown… In the same article, Dominguez was named the Marlins’ best Minor League defensive infielder… Stanton, the Marlins’ second draftee in the 2007 draft, also split time between the Gulf Coast Marlins (8 games) and Jamestown (9 games) last season… Entering the season, Stanton ranks ninth on Baseball America’s top 10 prospects for the Marlins and was tabbed the organization’s best power hitter and best athlete in the minors.

Weary Travels: Greensboro won just 24-of-70 road games last season for a 24-46 record away from NewBridge Bank Park… The .343 road winning percentage is the lowest road winning percentage in Grasshoppers history… In 2005, the ‘Hoppers went 33-34 (.496) away from home, and turned in a 30-38 (.441) road record in 2006… Overall, the Grasshoppers have an 87-118 (.424) road record.

Support Staff: John Duffy returns for his second season as the Grasshoppers pitching coach… His 2007 staff work efficiently, walking the fewest batters in the South Atlantic League, and was in the top half of the league in ERA (4.28) and strikeouts (1,046)… Rounding out the 2008 staff is hitting coach Jorge (pronounced George) Hernandez and athletic trainer Julio Hernandez.

Up Next: Greensboro returns home to host an eight-game homestand which includes its home-opener against Hickory on Monday, April 7… Following four games with the Crawdads, Greensboro hosts Asheville for a Friday through Monday series that features fireworks on Friday and Saturday and the first day game of the year on Monday (12:30 p.m.)… Last season the Grasshoppers split with Hickory, going 7-7 with a 6-1 record at home and out-scored the Crawdads 57-26 at NewBridge Bank Park.

Start Me Up: Hector Correa is slated to pitch on Opening Day for the Grasshoppers; he is the fourth different pitcher in as many years to open for the ‘Hoppers… The remaining Augusta series will see Cristhian Martinez, Jay Voss and Stuart AlexanderColby Miller is scheduled to take the mound for Greensboro’s home opener April 7.