Hoppers take game one from Asheville

The Greenboro Grasshoppers took game one of a four-game set from the Asheville Tourists on Friday night at NewBridge Bank Park….

from Justin Stottlemyre Hoppers’ media assistant:

Greensboro, N.C. – Greensboro’s five-run second inning and Ozzie Martinez’s second career home run powered the Grasshoppers to a series-opening victory Friday over the Asheville Tourists in front of 7,726 fans at NewBridge Bank Park.

The first of several Lincoln Financial Fireworks Friday’s kicked off with a bang when Greensboro (6-3) induced three walks in the second inning, including the first two batters Asheville’s Connor Graham faced. The Hoppers picked up just two hits in the inning, but plated five runs including two off of right fielder Mike Stanton’s lone hit of the night through a hole at shortstop.

Asheville (6-3) made an attempt at a comeback, but was able to score single runs in both the fourth and fifth inning before the Greensboro bullpen closed out the game with four scoreless inning of work. Relievers Shawn Phillips, Brad Stone and Garrett Parcell combined to allow just two hits and struck out three batters through the final four frames.

Ozzie Martinez led off the bottom of the seventh inning for Greensboro and set off a few fireworks of his own. Martinez, who entered the game with just one career homer in two years, sent the ball out of the park with a 387-foot home run that sailed over Natty’s Hill in left field.

Greensboro starter Stewart Alexander (2-0) also provided some fireworks for the crowd as he pitched 5.0 innings and struck out seven of the 20 batters he faced in the winning effort.

“Having the lead allowed me to challenge the batters a little more and not have to lay them on the corner,” Alexander said. “I was able to let the batters make contact and allow the defense to do the work.”

The Grasshoppers return to action Saturday in Game 2 of their current four-game series against the Tourists and Game 6 of an eight-game homestand. Saturday’s contest, a Wrangler Skyrocket Saturday, will see Greenboro’s Colby Miller (0-1, 4.50) take the mound against Asheville’s Bruce Billings (1-0, 7.20).