from Will Cornelius Hoppers’ media:
Dorn Pitches Hoppers To Series Win Over Bowling Green
GREENSBORO, NC — The Grasshoppers picked up their third straight win Thursday night, riding another spectacular start from Johnny Dorn (11-9), who snapped a two-game losing streak by beating Bowling Green 6-2 in the series finale.
Dorn tossed six innings in his 24th start of the season, but found some trouble in the top of the first inning, as Tim Beckham dropped a beautiful bunt single down the third baseline. Dorn picked Beckham off first one batter later, but allowed a triple and single in back-to-back at-bats to get the Hot Rods on the board early.
The Grasshoppers quickly turned the game around in the home half of the inning however, striking for two runs of their own to capture the lead and give Dorn some run support early in the contest.
Turns out Dorn would need only the two runs to assist him in pursuit of his staff-leading 11th win of the season. The Hoppersâ€™ righty would blank the Hot Rods in the second inning, but did allow a single run in the third inning, serving up a single and double to help Bowling Green square things up at two.
Even though the Hot Rods managed to tie the game in the third, Dorn and reliever Rodolfo Encarnacion stole the show from the mound, combining to hold the visiting club scoreless throughout the remainder of the ballgame.
Dorn received more help from his offense in the fourth inning, where the home lineup collected five base hits to bring home four runs in the inning.
Jake Smolinski, fresh off the disabled list, led things off with a single, and hustled around to third when lefty Thomas Hickman singled in the next at-bat. Daniel Pertusati grabbed the third base knock of the inning, bringing home Smolinski and advancing Hickman into scoring position with nobody out.
Two batters later, Torre Langley doubled down the line in left field to score Hickman, and later crossed the plate himself on a soft single to second base off the bat of Isaac Galloway.
With his newfound two-run lead, Dorn worked two more scoreless innings before giving way to Encarnacion out of the bullpen.
Encarnacion, who struggled in his brief appearance in last nightâ€™s game, was absolutely magnificent. The right-hander hurled four perfect innings of relief, allowing just one runner due to an error, and looked impressive after each hitter he mowed down.
He finished the day with four strikeouts, and picked up his first save of the season, a nine-out masterpiece capped off by a strikeout to finish the contest.
While Dorn and Encarnacion led from the mound, it was Smolinski, in his first game back, who paced the Hoppers from the plate.
The former second-round pick grabbed three hits on the day, and even managed to drive home a run during his 18th multi-hit performance of the year. Smolinski hammered two doubles as the designated hitter, and even scored two runs to help the Hoppers take just their second series of the second half.
The Grasshoppers (56-66) have moved out of the Northern Division cellar, and continue to play better baseball, having won their last two series at NewBridge Bank Park. They will continue at home tonight when they take on the Lexington Legends in the opener of a four-game set.
The first pitch of the Friday contest is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with fireworks to immediately follow the game.
Media Relations, Intern
Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball