Bill on Baseball:RiverDogs’ add-on runs doom Hoppers

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

RiverDogs’ add-on runs doom Hoppers

They’re called “add-on runs” and they beat the Hoppers Thursday night.

Those are the runs scored after a team has built a lead early in a game and then tacks on extra runs later. Charleston took a 4-0 lead before a one-hour rain delay, then added two runs in the sixth and two in the ninth. Those runs offset what the Hoppers eventually did offensively and resulted in an 8-5 win for the RiverDogs.

“The four runs early didn’t beat us,” said manager Jorge Hernandez, “but the four runs later did. We battled back and gave ourselves a chance but the bullpen couldn’t keep us in it.”

The Hoppers played without third baseman Colin Moran, who hit a home run in his first professional at-bat Wednesday. The Marlins’ No. 1 draft pick, who played at UNC, is in California for some NCAA awards (he’s a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the best hitter in college baseball). He will also miss Friday’s game and is expected back Saturday.

Greensboro’s offense was flat early on as Charleston starter Cesar Vargas retired all nine hitters he faced. After the rain delay, James Pazos pitched two more perfect innings. The Hoppers touched Tyler Webb for five runs in two innings, but Ben Paullus threw two scoreless innings to save the victory for Pazos.

Chad James started for Greensboro and gave up four runs in the third inning, including a two-run homer to Dante Bichette Jr. James put himself in a mess by hitting one batter and walking two more to start the inning.

After the delay, Blake Logan pitched two innings without incident but gave up two runs in the top of the sixth to give the Dogs a 6-0 lead.

The Hoppers finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Blake Barber broke up the perfect game with a double and scored on Cody Keefer’s double. Yordy Cabrera belted a three-run homer to shave the lead to 6-4, and Barber’s solo homer in the seventh cut it to one run.

But Chipper Smith surrendered a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to take the wind out of the Hoppers’ sails.

“We’ve got to pitch better,” Hernandez said. “James didn’t have it tonight. Smith has struggled lately and we’ve got to get him back (to where he was). It starts with starting pitching and we need Dejai Oliver to give us five or six good innings Friday and give us a chance to win the series.”