from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:
PITCHING POWERS WEST VIRGINIA PAST HOPPERS
GREENSBORO, NC â€“ The West Virginia pitching staff silenced the Grasshoppersâ€™ bats Friday evening, allowing just seven hits on the night to top the Hoppers by a score of 8-3.
The Power took control of Friday nightâ€™s game from the beginning, starting with a line solo shot in the first inning off the bat of Quincy Latimore. West Virginia kept their foot on the gas after the home run, getting the next two men on base with a single and walk. The red-hot Bobby Spain brought in both runners after he singled up the middle and the ball was fumbled in the outfield.
Spain would score in the next at-bat when Power right-fielder Starling Marte turned on an RBI double down the left field line.
West Virginia would settle into the contest after a leadoff home run in the next inning extended their lead to five runs.
The last-place pitching staff set things on cruise control with their big lead, allowing a lead off single to Kevin Mattison before working two hitless innings. The Hoppers wouldnâ€™t reach base again until the fourth, but would walk away empty handed after a double play helped the erase a Jeremy Synan single.
West Virginia starter Brian Leach pitched lights out for his club, carving up the Hoppersâ€™ lineup to the tune of two hits over four innings. Leach didnâ€™t issue any free passes on the day, and struck out one in his tough luck no decision.
The Hoppers would finally get on the board in the sixth however, after an hour and sixteen minute rain delay ended Leachâ€™s day. The Hoppers tagged Power relievers for three runs when Kevin Mattison connected with his 11th home run of the season. Synan followed suite with a deep blast of his own, bringing home Jake Smolinski who had singled in the previous at-bat.
Mattison and Synan paced the Hoppers offensively, turning in two hits each to register four of the Hopperâ€™s seven total hits while driving in all of three of their runs.
Bryan Evans and Andrew Loomis provided the only bright spots for the Hoppersâ€™ pitching staff, combining for five innings of scoreless relief. Loomis worked two innings without surrendering a hit while fanning five Power hitters.
But despite the supreme stopping effort of Evans and Loomis, the Powerâ€™s five run lead proved too much for the Hopperâ€™s, as the home team failed to rally back and ultimately fell to the visiting West Virginia club.
The Hoppers (37-35) have now dropped the first two games of the current series, and look to bounce back in tonightâ€™s contest in order to restore any chance of a series split. The Hoppers and Power square off again tonight at NewBridge Bank Park, with fireworks immediately following the game.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., gates open at 6:00 p.m.
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball