Bill on Baseball:Drive shuts down Hoppers again

from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at

Drive shuts down Hoppers again

Perhaps it’s a good thing the Hoppers are only going to see the Greenville Drive for one series this season.

The Red Sox farmhands beat Greensboro for the second straight night Tuesday, 5-1. In two games the Hoppers have been held to two runs and 12 hits.

The Drive’s best pitcher, Luis Diaz, did the job in this one. In six shutout innings he allowed five singles and a walk while striking out eight. He picked up his sixth win and dropped his ERA to 2.44.

“Their pitching was pretty good,” said Hoppers manager Jorge Hernandez. “Their starter has a good arm.”

Viosergy Rosa prevented a shutout by hitting his 20th homer of the season in the eighth inning off reliever Austin Maddox. Other than that, the Hoppers collected seven singles — three by Colin Moran and two by Jose Behar — and never advanced a runner to third base.

“Moran swung the bat well and that was good to see,” Hernandez said. “And hopefully the home run by Rosa will get him hot.”

For the second straight night the Hoppers began the game in a hole. Mason Hope, in the rotation again after a stint in the bullpen, allowed five runs in the first two innings. After giving up two in the first, including a solo homer by Mario Martinez, Hope surrendered a two-out, three-run homer to Reed Gragnani in the second. It was the first professional homer by Gragnani, drafted in the 21st round out of Virginia in June, and one of his three hits.

The Hoppers bullpen continued its stellar work with five shutout innings. Chipper Smith pitched three of them, striking out six, while Jheyson Manzueta and Frankie Reed each retired the side in order.

The series wraps up with a 4 p.m. game Wednesday.