Bill on Baseball:Hoppers pitching falters against Claws

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at….

Hoppers pitching falters against Claws

The Hoppers are having a flashback at the wrong time.

Early in the season, big innings by the opposition led to numerous defeats. The pitching seemed to iron out that problem for a while, but in the past two games it has come back to bite the Hoppers again. On Sunday Lakewood beat Greensboro 10-7, earning a split in the four-game series after dropping the first two.

The BlueClaws put up five runs in the second inning, three in the sixth and two more in the eighth. The Hoppers, after grabbing a 2-0 lead in the first, played from behind the rest of the day.

“It’s like it was earlier in the year, giving up big innings,” said manager Jorge Hernandez. “I didn’t think five runs in the second would beat us but those late big innings made it harder.

“We’ve got to pitch better. The starters haven’t been going well and today the bullpen didn’t, either. You get behind in the count and the other team is going to get hits.”

Chad James gave up five runs in the second inning, Blake Logan surrendered three in the sixth and Jheyson Manzueta allowed two in the eighth.

It was the second straight day Lakewood scored 10 runs. They came on 14 hits, giving the BlueClaws 53 hits in the four-game series.

None of the Hoppers pitchers who faced Jonathan Roof, recently demoted from Clearwater, could do anything with him. Roof had a single and a two-run homer off starter Chad James, a two-run double off Blake Logan and another two-run double off Jheyson Manzueta. Roof’s RBIs came a day after he hit a three-run homer in Saturday’s 10-3 win.

Offensively, the Hoppers had their moments. They scored twice in the first inning off Lakewood’s Severino Gonzalez, who had not allowed a run in 10 innings pitched with the Claws. Rehinder Cordova tripled in one run and Jesus Solorzano drove in another with a sacrifice fly.

But Gonzalez settled into a groove after that, retiring 11 straight at one point. Finally, in the top of the sixth, Cordova singled and Viosergy Rosa belted a two-run homer. That brought his totals to 19 homers and 55 RBIs, both team highs.

The Claws switched to Zach Cooper and the Hoppers jumped on him for three more runs, all coming in on Blake Barber’s bases-clearing double.

That brought the Hoppers within 8-7, but reliever Chris Burgess slammed the door with three shutout innings to preserve the win for Gonzalez.

After a day off Monday, the Hoppers head on the road. They will play three games at Lexington and four at Kannapolis. They return home Wednesday, Julu 17.