from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at www.gsohoppers.com:
“We’re making the same mistakes”
Six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning made things exciting for the fans Tuesday night, but not for Hoppers manager David Berg.
West Virginia broke open a close game with five runs in the seventh inning and three more in the eighth en route to a 9-0 lead. Berg felt the six runs Greensboro scored were merely cosmetic.
“We’re not playing the game the right way,” he said. “The other team came out with a lot of energy. We’re still making the same mistakes after 100 games. It’s frustrating.”
As examples, Berg cited pitchers leaving the ball up in the strike zone, relievers not coming in throwing strikes and the staff not holding runners close. And there were some things he didn’t mention, like hitters being unable to drive in runners in scoring position when the game was still close.
The upshot is that the Hoppers slid to a 14-18 record in the second half. They’re 9-10 in NewBridge Bank Park after going 26-8 at home in the first half.
Austin Brice started Tuesday and allowed one run, a homer, through the first six innings. But he gave up a home run and two walks to begin the seventh and was pulled for Dejai Oliver, who gave up a three-run home run. Oliver was tagged for three more runs in the eighth.
After being held in check for eight innings, the Hoppers mounted a two-out rally, sitting on the fastball of Power reliever Jose Montero. James Wooster doubled in a run, another scored on a balk, Ryan Rieger got another RBI and Brent Keys cracked a three-run homer to make it 9-6.
West Virginia manager Rick Sofield bolted out of the dugout to get the ball from Montero and give it to Porfirio Lopez. He immediately walked Austin Barnes and gave up a double to John Schultz. Amazingly, that brought the tying run to the plate, but Matt Smith grounded out to end the game.
Scott Lyman will pitch Wednesday’s game and the series will conclude Thursday with Charlie Lowell on the mound. In his last three starts Lowell has pitched 20 innings and allowed three hits and four walks while striking out 29.
Remember to check out Bill Hass at the Greensboro Grasshoppers site at www.gsohoppers.com….