from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:
FIVE-RUN FIRST ENOUGH FOR HOPPERS
(Friday June 5, 2009)
GREENSBORO, NC â€“ The Grasshoppers struck for five runs in the home half of the first inning to defeat the Hickory Crawdads 5-3 on Friday evening.
After two days without baseball, the Hopperâ€™s bats looked anything but rusty, chasing Hickory starter Wilmer Font (2-1) after just 2/3 of an inning. The loss was Fontâ€™s first of the season, and marks a season low for innings pitched in games he has started.
Font began the night by plunking lead off man Kevin Mattison. The runs came in bunches after Mattison reached base, as the Hoppers tagged Font for five runs on three hits.
Ben Lasater singled past an outstretched second basemen to plate two runs while Justin Bass doubled to deep right-center to drive in two of his own. Bassâ€™s two-run double sent Font to the showers after facing just eight hitters.
Bass, last weekâ€™s South Atlantic League Player of the Week, has now hit safely in four straight games, and 10 of his last 11 contests. He led all South Atlantic Leaguers in batting average for the month of May, and now stands alone as the Grasshopperâ€™s leader in batting average.
The Hopperâ€™s failed to score later in tonightâ€™s ballgame, but rode the right arm of starter Graham Johnson. Johnson (2-1) picked up his second win of the season pitching into the 5th inning for just the third time all year.
Johnson allowed just two runs over the five-inning span, and improved to 2-0 in home starts. His command was questionable early in the game, issuing four walks and one hit-batsman, but worked through tight spots to keep the Grasshoppersâ€™ lead in tact.
Mattison made a nice diving grab in shallow center to help Johnson work out of a second inning jam, as timely outs and defensive support paved the way for Johnsonâ€™s first win in his last three outings.
Bryan Evans and Daniel Jennings combined to work 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen to eliminate any Crawdad threats. The middle of the bullpen allowed just three hits in their 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before passing the torch to closer Pete Andrelczyk.
Andrelczyk recorded the final out of the eighth inning before closing the door on the Crawdads in the ninth.
Hickoryâ€™s Mike Bianucci provided the only offensive support for the Crawdads, taking Andrelzcyk deep in the final frame to finish the day with a 3-5 performance.
After the blast, Andrelczyk zoned in to retire the next three batters in succession to collect his 10th save of the season. The Hopperâ€™s closer remains perfect in save opportunities on the year, and moved himself into second place in the South Atlantic League in saves.
With the win tonight, the Hoppers (27-26) jump Hickory in the standings and move into a tie for third place in the Northern Division. The Hoppers look to edge closer to the top of the standings board tomorrow evening when they visit the Crawdads for the three-game conclusion of their current series. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball