from Will Cornelius Hoppers media:
Kannapolis Downs Hoppers With Solid Pitching Performance
GREENSBORO, NC â€“ The Kannapolis Intimidators, the Northern Divisionâ€™s second half leaders, traveled to NewBridge Bank Park Saturday evening and downed the Grasshoppers 7-2 in front of a crowd of 8,027.
The Intimidators, who had won nine of their last 10 games entering tonightâ€™s contest, kept rolling with a strong performance from left-handed hurler Joe Serafin (3-1). Serafin shut down the Hoppers over seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits.
The Grasshoppers managed their lone run in the opening frame, where a two-out home run off the bat of designated hitter Ryan Keedy helped the home team to their first run of the ballgame.
But the Intimidators came back strong to give Serafin all the run support he needed early in the contest. The visiting lineup struck for back-to-back one-run innings to open the game, grabbing a quick two-run lead and never looking back.
Serafin settled in with his two-run cushion, and cruised through the Hoppersâ€™ lineup over the next five innings. The Grasshoppers collected just three hits during the stretch, and fanned six times thanks to the crafty left arm of Serafin.
The Intimidators padded their lead again in the fourth inning, using two doubles and an error to catapult them to a two-run inning. Hoppersâ€™ starter Bryan Evans, typically a familiar face from the bullpen, exited his fifth start after the two-run inning.
As the Hoppersâ€™ offense continued to slump, Kannapolis kept their foot on the gas. The Intimidators, although shut down during the fifth and sixth, added a three-spot in the seventh to extend their lead to six.
Lefty Andrew Loomis came on after Kannapolis strung together three singles and a double to chase reliever Arquimedes Caminero from the ballgame. The Hoppersâ€™ lefty picked up his teammate by inducing a grounder to end the frame, but could only stop the bleeding as the damage had already been done.
The Hoppers had something cooking in the seventh as well, as first basemen Ben Lasater began the frame with a double to centerfield. Thomas Hickman followed the double with a single of his own, moving Lasater into scoring position with no outs.
But Serafin pulled even more lefty magic out of his hat, and stranded Lasater and Hickman on the bags after he retired the next three hitters he faced to work out of the seventh-inning jam.
Loomis toed the rubber for the Hoppers again in the eighth inning, and picked up right where he left off. The lefty worked a scoreless eighth and ninth to finish the day with 2 1/3 innings pitched, allowing no runs and just two hits.
The Hoppersâ€™ offense tried to rally again in the home half of the eighth inning, this time managing one run despite loading the bases off Kannapolis reliever Kevin Asselin.
Asselin surrendered two quick singles to Jose Ceballos and Isaac Galloway, and then walked Paul Gran to pack the bases full of Hoppers with nobody out. Asselin stuck out the next two hitters that stepped into the box, but allowed the lone run to score after a momentary lapse of control resulted in a bases loaded walk.
The righty recovered in the next at-bat, fanning the last hitter of the inning to record all three outs via the strikeout.
Asselin jogged back out to the mound again in the ninth, again making quick work of the Hoppers order. He issued a one out free pass, but didnâ€™t retired the next two he faced to close the door on the Hoppersâ€™ final at-bat.
Evans (3-7) took the loss for the Hoppers, but didnâ€™t receive much support from the offense. The Hoppersâ€™ lineup mustered just two runs on seven hits, but was carried by Galloway and Hickman, who each turned in multi-hit days at the plate.
The Hoppers (60-71) continue against Kannapolis this evening when they take on the Intimidators in the final Sunday game of the 2009 season. The Sunday contest will begin at its special 7:05 p.m. time, and feature fireworks immediately following the game.
Media Relations, Intern