Hoppers let Crawdads get split as series ends at 2-2

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 day’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.

Greensboro’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.

“Haar 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,” said Hoppers manager Edwin Rodriguez. “He’s not a power pitcher and you’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.”

Despite only getting four hits, the Hoppers played without an error in the field; their first errorless game of the season.

“I think we have a great defensive team, but we’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,” 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. Sunday’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 Sunday’s game courtesy of Murphy-Wainer. Monday’s series-finale is a Hoppin’ 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.*****