Bill on Baseball:Hoppers waste strong start by Scott Lyman

Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) from

Hoppers waste strong start by Scott Lyman

Just when the Hoppers got one part of their game going Wednesday, two other parts broke down.

Hagerstown pinned a 6-0 loss on the Hoppers, who finished the homestand with just two wins in seven games. Even that was better than the previous one in which they went 1-6. They now are just 7-14 in NewBridge Bank Park this season.

Starting pitching, an Achilles heel most of the season, wasn’t the problem Wednesday. Scott Lyman pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks and striking out three. It was by far his strongest performance at home this season.

But because the starters are capped at five innings for the time being, Lyman had to come out of the game. Brian Ellington got through the sixth without incident but the Suns touched him for three runs in the eighth. The big blow was a two-run double from Stephen Perez, followed by an RBI double by Erick Fernandez.

Hagerstown tacked on a run against Jheyson Manzueta in the eighth on a homer by Shawn Pleffner, and two more in the ninth (both unearned) against usually-reliable Frankie Reed.

“Lyman was outstanding,” said manager Jorge Hernandez. “Our bullpen has been solid but it fell apart today.”

Meanwhile, an offense that put up eight runs the day before was stymied by Ronald Pena, David Fishcher and former Florida State reliever Robert Benincasa. Only one runner reached third base all day. Viosergy Rosa had two hits, giving him seven in the series, and Anthony Gomez added two.

“We just didn’t hit,” Hernandez said “We don’t do well in these early games (it was a 10:45 a.m. start).”

The Hoppers now go on the road for seven games against the same two teams they just played here. They will be at Lakewood for four and Hagerstown for three.

“We’ve got to get something started somehow, some way,” Hernandez said. “This is a learning process, a teaching process and about learning to play the game the right way.”