from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:
GREENSBORO, NC â€“ The Grasshoppers surged past the BlueClaws 8-7 thanks to a five run rally in the eighth inning.
Lakewood struck first in the contest, piecing together three hits to plate four runs in the first inning. The BlueClaws added to their early lead, tacking on an additional run in the fourth and two more in the sixth.
The visiting BlueClaws began the scoring when leadoff man Harold Garcia swiped two stolen bases after he was hit by the pitch, and then later scored on a line single to right field.
Lakewood would continue offensively, carrying a 7-1 lead into the 5th inning until red-hot Justin Bass connected with his team-leading ninth home run to deep left field.
Bassâ€™s big fly, his sixth in the last eight games, ignited the Hopperâ€™s offense, tagging starter Jesus Sanchez for one more run in the frame. Sanchez would work out of the jam to complete five innings before tossing the contest up to the bullpen.
Lanky lefty Jacob Diekman came on the eighth inning for the BlueClaws, but was greeted by a Grasshopperâ€™s offensive explosion.
Jeremy Synan poked a double down the third base line to start the inning and later scored on a Ben Lasater single. Infielder Jake Smolinski joined the party, belting his third homer of the season to bring the Hoppers within one run.
With the bases empty, the highly touted catcher Kyle Skipworth went deep to even the score and complete a four run comeback.
The rally continued in the next at-bat, as Bass singled and was later driven in when Kevin Mattison lined one off the pitcher for an infield single.
With a one run lead in the ninth, Pete Andrelczyk closed the door by striking out two to record his ninth save of the season. Andrelczyckâ€™s nine saves ranks second amongst South Atlantic League pitchers, and remains perfect in save opportunities this season.
Reliever Brandon Todd (2-1) earned the win out of the bullpen, tossing 2/3 of an inning without allowing a BlueClaw run.
Mattison and Smolinski each turned in multi-hit and RBI performances, and were followed by Bass, who churned out his fourth multi-hit contest in six games.
With the thriller, the Hoppers (26-24) avoid a three game losing streak and close ground on the league leading BlueClaws. Now back just three and a half games, the Hoppers look to grow even closer to the top of the Northern Division with another win over Lakewood tomorrow. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball