The Will call on Hoppers-BlueClaws from Monday night

from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:


GREENSBORO, NC – The Lakewood BlueClaws took down the Hoppers for the second time in three games tonight, out-slugging the Grasshoppers 11-6.

The Hoppers struck for two runs in the second inning to begin the scoring, as Ben Lasater lined a home run over the left field fence for his 10th long ball of the season. Justin Jacobs’ sacrifice fly later in the inning brought home Jake Smolinski and extended the lead to two runs.

The Grasshoppers collected 12 hits altogether, but were unable to mount a comeback after back-to-back big innings gave the BlueClaws a 4-2 lead.

The BlueClaw rally began in the fifth when the first two hitters reached base on an error and hit-by-pitch. The next hitter, catcher Travis d’ Arnaud, connected with his second big fly of the series to give the BlueClaws their first lead of the game.

Four consecutive hits by the BlueClaws in the sixth inning extended the lead to five while the Lakewood pitching staff held the Hoppers in check for the rest of the evening.

BlueClaw starter Jon Velasquez (7-2) scattered five hits in 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win and avenge his last loss to the Grasshoppers on May 22nd. Velasquez was dominant through his five innings of work, putting up four shutout innings to cruise towards his seventh win on the year.

Relievers Santo Hernandez and Ryan Ariail combined for 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs before slamming the door on the BlueClaws five run victory.

The underlying theme of tonight’s contest was the Grasshoppers defense, which committed a season-high six errors to plate four unearned runs. Grasshoppers’ pitchers amassed 12 strikeouts on the night, but were unable pitch past the errors as the BlueClaws capitalized on defensive mistakes and free passes at the plate.

The bright spot for the Hoppers was third basemen Jake Smolinski’s night at the plate, going 3-3 with an RBI and a walk. Daniel Pertusati, Jeremy Synan, and Ben Lasater all joined him with multi-hit performances of their own, including two extra base hits by second-year Grasshopper Lasater.

The loss drops the Grasshoppers to 26-25, falling to four and a half games behind the BlueClaws in the Northern Division standings. The Grasshoppers can still salvage a series split and remain tight in the divisional race with a win tomorrow in the series finale against Lakewood. The afternoon contest is set to begin at 12:35 p.m.

Will Cornelius
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball