Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball:Romero’s big hit helps Hoppers stay hot

“I was looking for a pitch to drive and got a changeup up,” he said. “As I rounded first base, I thought he (Chism) had caught it.”
(Avery Romero on his double that pushed the Grasshoppers in front for good.)

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

Romero’s big hit helps Hoppers stay hot

Avery Romero isn’t a prototypical cleanup hitter, but he delivered like one Saturday night.

His two-out double in the bottom of the seventh inning drove in the go-ahead runs and the Hoppers went on to beat Lexington 3-1 at NewBridge Bank Park.

The second baseman has hit up and down the lineup this season and produced everywhere. He’s hitting .328, leads the team with 12 doubles and has driven in 15 runs. But it’s unusual for him to be hitting fourth.

“I think that’s the second time I’ve hit there this season,” he said. “I liked it tonight because guys got on base ahead of me.”

With the game tied 1-1, Rehiner Cordova and Yefri Perez opened the bottom of the seventh with walks and Austin Dean moved them up with a sacrifice. Felix Munoz took a called third strike, then Romero laced a drive to left field that Lexington’s Tyler Chism almost caught but which bounced off the wall and scored the runners.

“I was looking for a pitch to drive and got a changeup up,” he said. “As I rounded first base, I thought he (Chism) had caught it.”

Munoz accounted for the Hoppers’ other run with a home run to left field in the fourth inning off Legends’ starter Cody Reed. It was his fifth of the season, tops on the team, and his first off a left-handed pitcher.

Greensboro starter Jarlin Garcia, using his breaking ball effectively, had probably his best outing, allowing only four hits and one run in six innings. He gave up a solo homer to Fred Ford in the sixth inning that tied the game.

“We pushed back his start to give him some extra work,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. “He really applied that and I was glad to see him repeat his good delivery.

“His breaking ball showed up, the one we’ve seen in the past. He’s worked hard to get it back and tonight he set the tone with it.”

With the bullpen a bit thin, Josh Easley pitched shutout ball in the seventh and eighth innings. It was a good bounceback for the right-hander, who had been shelled for five runs in a brief outing in Greenville, and he wound up with the win. Sean Donatello pitched a dominant ninth inning for earn his third save.

“It was huge to get two innings out of Easley,” Powell said. “Tonight he kept the ball out of the middle of the plate.

“Donatello can throw four pitches for strikes and his fastball has really come on this year. He went to 0-and-2 on three of the four hitters he faced and pitching ahead in the count is the name of the game.”

The Hoppers won for the 20th time this season against 14 losses. It was their third straight win and ninth in their last 12 games.

“It starts with the starters,” said manager David Berg. “Our bullpen has been good and our defense has been good. And we haven’t put a long winning streak together yet.”

In fact, three in a row is the longest streak, but Greensboro has been avoiding losing streaks.

The teams play again today at 4 p.m. Sean Townsley will start for the Hoppers and will be relieved by piggyback partner Matt Milroy.