Bill on Baseball:Hoppers throttled by Crawdads again

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at

Hoppers throttled by Crawdads again

If nothing else, perhaps the Hoppers got something for their starting pitchers to build on Thursday night.

Although Hickory beat the Hoppers 4-2, at least Greensboro had some hope. Mason Hope, to be specific.

The right-hander retired the first 12 hitters he faced, seven by strikeout, before giving up two runs in the fifth inning. After Ryan Rua led off with a clean single up the middle, Hope retired Jorge Alfaro but then surrendered a two-run homer to Nomar Mazara. Hope eventually walked the bases full but managed to escape without further damage.

“He did a good job of mixing his pitches and throwing them for strikes at the bottom of the zone,” said pitching coach Blake McGinley. “He did a great job for four innings against a really aggressive team. It was good to see him pound the zone.”

Helpi Reyes took over in the sixth and gave up a solo home run to Rua, the eighth long ball of the series by the Crawdads. Hickory tacked on an unearned run in the ninth against Miguel Fermin.

Starting pitching has been a weak spot for the Hoppers, so perhaps Hope’s effort will inspire the rest of the staff.

“I hope so,” McGinley said. “These guys should feed off each other. You want to compete and match the other guy and have fun.”

The disappointing thing about the series for Greensboro’s hitters was the inability to extend the momentum from Tuesday’s dramatic come-from-behind win. After scoring 10 runs in that game, the Hoppers were held to two runs in each of the next two. Thursday they scored one run on a wild pitch and another on a solo home run by Anthony Gomez, his first of the season.

The only other real threat came in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Viosergy Rosa singled and Jesus Solarzano walked and both moved up on a wild pitch. Hickory brought in left-hander Ryne Slack, who threw nothing but breaking balls to left-handed hitter Cody Keefer, eventually getting him on a called third strike.

Rome begins a four-game series in NewBridge Bank Park tonight. Scott Lyman will pitch for the Hoppers.