Lakewood sends Hoppers to another loss at home
Playing at home has not been kind to the Hoppers so far this season.
They took a 10-3 drubbing by Lakewood Friday night, dropping their season record in NewBridge Bank Park to 6-10. They’re 9-8 in road games for an overall record of 15-18.
“We should be playing better here,” manager Jorge Hernandez said. “Maybe it’s a lack of concentration or we get too comfortable. We’ve got to pitch better in this park with its short porches.”
Hernandez said poor pitching set the tone for the game. The BlueClaws, who came into the game with just eight home runs in 32 games, slugged four Friday. Starter Scott Lyman gave up a two-run shot to Bryan Pointer in the first inning, then back-to-back long balls to Zach Taylor and Roman Quinn in the third. It was Taylor’s first of the season.
Lakewood went on to load the bases with two outs. Hernandez brought in left-hander Chipper Smith to face Chace Numata. After getting a strike on a fastball, Smith threw a changeup that Numata deposited on Natty’s Hill for a grand slam. Just like that the game went from 4-3 to 8-3.
“One bad pitch changed the whole game,” Hernandez said. “If we get the out there, it’s still 4-3 and a whole different game.”
The Hoppers had answered Lakewood’s two runs in the top of the first with three in the bottom. Jesus Solorzano doubled in two runs and Matt Juengel doubled in another. But after the BlueClaws scored six in the third inning, Greensboro didn’t score in the bottom half and the game was essentially over.
The Hoppers banged out 11 hits but hit into two double plays and left numerous runners in scoring position. Juengel, Mike Vaughn, Alfredo Lopez and Yordy Cabrera each had two hits.
The teams play the third game of the series Saturday at 7 p.m. Ramon Del Orbe will be the Hoppers’ starter.