by Justin Stottlemyre Greensboro Grasshoppers media assistant:
Greensboro fell in its series finale against Hickory Thursday, 4-1, as the two teams split the four-game series at NewBridge Bank Park.
After a dayâ€™s rest, outfielder Mike Stanton returned to the lineup where he went 2-for-3 in the losing effort; Bryan Petersen and Emilio Ontiveros recorded the only other hits for the Grasshoppers.
After three scoreless innings, Hickory jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Thomas Hagan doubled home Erik Huber. The Crawdads added to their lead with two runs in the sixth and another in the ninth.
Greensboroâ€™s only run of the night came in the sixth inning as Petersen hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Ozzie Martinez who reached on an error, advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third via a Ryan Curry ground out.
Jeremiah Haar made his second start of the season for the Grasshoppers and tossed 5.2 innings in which he allowed three earned runs on nine hits.
â€œHaar was originally going to be in the bullpen for us and we were really looking for him to go five or six innings for us tonight,â€ said Hoppers manager Edwin Rodriguez. â€œHeâ€™s not a power pitcher and youâ€™re going to see a lot of contact when he on the mound, but tonight the ball was finding holes and getting through the infield.â€
Despite only getting four hits, the Hoppers played without an error in the field; their first errorless game of the season.
â€œI think we have a great defensive team, but weâ€™ve had to move a lot of guys out of their normal positions and we saw a lot of early errors this season because of that,â€ said Rodriguez.
The loss dropped the Hoppers to 5-3 on the season as they completed their first home series with a 2-2 home record.
Greensboro will be back in action Friday as the open a four-game set with Asheville at NewBridge Bank Park; start time is scheduled for 7 p.m. The series will feature fireworks on both Friday and Saturday, sponsored by Lincoln Financial and Wrangler, respectively. Sundayâ€™s Moses Cone Health System Family Day will allow kids to play catch on the field prior to the game and run the bases after the 5 p.m. game. The Grasshoppers will also be giving away free fleece blankets at Sundayâ€™s game courtesy of Murphy-Wainer. Mondayâ€™s series-finale is a Hoppinâ€™ Fun day game and will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Stuart Alexander (1-0, 5.40) will make the start for Greensboro while Connor Graham (0-1, 7.36) will counter for Asheville.
*****Matt McSwain came out of the bullpen for Hickory for the second time in the four-game series on Thursday and he worked two scoreless innings for the Crawdads. McSwain is from Sophia, N.C. and he attended Randleman High School.*****