from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:
GRASSHOPPERS START SECOND HALF WITH TOUGH LOSS
GREENSBORO, NCâ€”The Grasshoppers began their second half pursuit of a Northern Division title with a crushing 11-10 loss at the hands of the West Virginia Power.
The evening went in favor of the Power from the beginning, as Grasshoppersâ€™ righty Tom Koehler struggled out of the gate. Koehler sat West Virginia down in order in the opening frame, but surrendered a solo shot to home run derby champion Calvin Anderson to lead off the second inning.
Koehler would allow two more hits in the inning, but escape without any further damage thanks to a nice defensive stab by first basemen Ben Lasater.
The Hoppers tried to respond the in the bottom of the inning, but let the opportunity slip away after a mistake on the base paths erased Isaac Gallowayâ€™s leadoff double. Two walks later in the frame would load the bases, but Kyle Skipworth lined out to the second basemen to help the Power work out of the jam.
West Virginia starter Rafael De Los Santos calmed down after his rocky start, working four consecutive scoreless innings without allowing a single hit. He retired 11 straight Grasshoppersâ€™ hitters during one stretch, and left after the fifth inning in line for his first win of the season.
Although Koehler used crafty stuff to work past the 10 base hits he surrendered, the Power gave De Los Santos some support by taking a three run lead into the fifth inning.
Justin Jacobs helped the Hoppers snap the four inning scoring draught when he walked and advanced the third after a costly throwing error on an attempted stolen base. Jacobs trotted home to score the first run on Gallowayâ€™s sacrifice fly to right-field.
The Hoppersâ€™ lone run in the first five innings came on just two hits, one in the first inning, and one in the fifth. But the offense would catch fire in the seventh, sending 11 hitters to the plate to strike for six runs.
Justin Bass started the rally for the Grasshoppers, reaching safely after being plunked by the pitch. Another walk and sac bunt moved runners into scoring position before coming in on an RBI single by Galloway. A botched double play coupled with back-to-back walks kept the inning alive long enough for Jake Smolinski to drive in another run with an RBI single.
Skipworth knocked a single of his own in the next at-bat to bring home yet another run before a walk and hit by pitch with the bases loaded plated the Hoppersâ€™ final two runs.
The Hoppersâ€™ six run rally in the seventh inning gave the Hoppersâ€™ their first lead of the evening, but wasnâ€™t enough, as the Power turned in an eight-run ninth inning to regain the lead.
Three consecutive walks loaded the bases for West Virginia in the ninth, starting the inning with two runs after Robbie Grossman laced a two RBI double down the right field line. A triple by Quincy Latimore brought home two more before an errant throw on a double play ball allowed three more runs to cross the late.
The Hoppers tried to mount a comeback in their final at-bat, scoring three runs before West Virginia registered three outs and ended the thrilling second-half opener.
With the loss, the Hoppers drop their first game of the second half and snap both a three game winning streak and eight-game home win streak. The Hoppers will try to avenge the tough loss tomorrow evening when they host West Virginia for game two of the current series.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball