Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers ready for new opponent in Rome

Hoppers ready for new opponent in Rome

Sometimes a change in opponents is a good thing.

The Hoppers won the first of four games against the Lexington, then dropped three straight to the Legends. The third loss was by 4-3 Tuesday afternoon at NewBridge Bank Park.

Now 20-17, Greensboro will look to regroup when the Rome Braves come in for three games, beginning Wednesday at 7 p.m. Domingo German is the scheduled starter for the Hoppers.

The teams have already played a three-game series in Rome this season, with the Hoppers taking two of three in April. In one of the eccentricities of the South Atlantic League schedule, the Hoppers will make another trip to Rome in the first half for four games, giving them 10 games against the Southern Division Braves.

Meanwhile, they play Hagerstown, a Northern Division opponent which is leading the division, just one series for four games. Go figure.

After their worst game of the season on Monday, when they committed five errors in a 7-3 loss, the Hoppers played much better Tuesday but still came up short. They took a 2-0 lead on back-to-back homers in the second by Juan Avila and Sharif Othman, but Lexington retaliated in the top of the third when Chad Johnson belted a grand slam homer off starter Ryan Newell.

Austin Dean’s RBI in the seventh trimmed the lead to 4-3. In the ninth, the Hoppers loaded the bases with one out, only to have Othman strike out and Cody Keefer fly out to deep left field to end the game.

The best thing about the two games for the Hoppers was the bullpen. On Monday, Esmerling de la Rosa pitched two perfect innings, striking out three. On Tuesday, Miguel del Pozo pitched four scoreless, hitless innings with four strikeouts.

NOTES: Ramon del Orbe, the pitcher who was hit in the head by a line drive in a game at West Virginia last year, has been assigned to the Hoppers roster. He underwent two operations on his brain. He has to wear a special padded helmet while pitching, but he participated in spring training and then extended spring and was cleared to pitch again. To make roster room, Blake Logan was promoted to Jupiter … Lexington’s manager is Brian Buchanan, who played for the Bats in 1995. An outfielder and a former No. 1 pick by the New York Yankees (not to be confused with a pitcher of the same name who played here later), he suffered a terrible ankle injury while with the Bats and only played 23 games here. He recovered and eventually played several seasons in the major leagues, mostly with Minnesota.