Bill on Baseball:Sand Gnats bite Hoppers 8-5

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at

Sand Gnats bite Hoppers 8-5

It was pretty simple for the Greensboro Grasshoppers Monday night.

“We just didn’t pitch well,” said manager Jorge Hernandez after the Hoppers lost to the Savannah Sand Gnats 8-5 at NewBridge Bank Park. “That’s really the first game this season we haven’t pitched well.”

The Hoppers fell behind 6-0 by the top of the fourth inning and, although the offense came back and banged out 14 hits and five runs, the hole was too deep.

“Savannah came ready to swing the bats,” Hernandez said. “Everything they hit was hard.”

Starter Scott Lyman was tagged for six runs, three unearned, in four innings. His biggest nemesis was leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo, who singled in two runs in the second inning and ripped a three-run homer in the fourth. The 20-year-old center fielder was a first-round draft pick by the Mets in 2011.

Chipper Smith, a newcomer to the pitching staff, followed Lyman and gave up five hits and two runs in two innings. He’s a left-hander who was added when Andy Beltre was placed on the disabled list. Beltre was sent to the Marlins minor league headquarters in Jupiter for an MRI on his elbow.

Dane Stone pitched two scoreless innings and Blake Logan pitched a shutout ninth.

Greensboro’s 14 hits included solo home runs by Jesus Solorzano, his first, and Yordy Cabrera, his third. Solorzano, Matt Juengel and Yeison Hernandez had three hits each; Cabrera and Cameron Flynn added two apiece.

It was the Hoppers’ second straight loss after winning the first three games of this homestand against Lakewood. They lost to the BlueClaws in the final game of that series Sunday. Ramon Del Orbe will try to get the team back on track when he starts Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game.