from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at www.gsohoppers.com)….
Lakewood’s 2-1 win ends Hoppers’ streak
It was one of those frustrating games that pop up during the course of a long season.
This one, a 2-1 loss to Lakewood Wednesday in NewBridge Bank Park, happened to end the Hoppers’ six-game winning streak.
The frustration lay in the fact that the Hoppers wasted a lot of opportunities. They banged out nine hits but stranded nine runners, including eight in the first six innings. Most of the hits came with two outs and nobody on base. On the occasions where the leadoff men did get on — Kentrell Dewitt’s double in the sixth and Javy Lopez’ single in the seventh, they never got around to score. Chad Wallach’s RBI double in the second inning was the only hit with a runner in scoring position.
“Yes, it’s frustrating,” said Justin Bohn, “but so is any loss. We just didn’t get the key hits today.”
The pitching, as it has been recently, was excellent again, good enough to win most games. Matt Milroy and Sean Townsley combined to limit Lakewood to six hits while recording 14 strikeouts. Milroy allowed three hits in five innings and Townsley allowed no runs on three hits in four innings.
Milroy had nine strikeouts as he dominated the first four innings, retiring all 12 batters. But in the fifth he gave up a leadoff single to Willians Asudillo, tied for second in the South Atlantic League with a .344 average. Dylan Cozens followed with a double that put runners on second and third.
Milroy regrouped and struck out the next two batters. An intentional walk loaded the bases, setting up a force at any base. Robinson Torres, the No. 9 hitter who was just 3-for-26 on the season, then blooped one into center field. Shortstop Lopez raced out and center fielder Yefri Perez raced in but the ball fell perfectly between them as two runs scored.
“They get paid to hit, too,” Milroy said. “Astudillo is a pretty good hitter and the next guy hit one in the right place at the right time. It was some bad luck, just one of those things that happens. We’ve had a bunch of those fall for us during this streak.”
Pitching coach Jeremy Powell had a bit more critical eye.
“On the double, it was on an oh-and-2 count and caught too much of the plate,” he said. “We want these guys to throw strikes and sometimes it’s hard to remember not to throw too good of a pitch in that count. But that’s how you learn.
“On that bloop, he had just thrown a pitch (for a ball) in that location and then put another one in the same spot. (Torres) put a swing on it and got just enough of it.”
With the loss, the Hoppers fell to 29-22 and dropped 6 1/2 games behind Hagerstown in the Northern Division with 19 games remaining. The homestand continues with four games against West Virginia. Max Garner will open the series on the mound for Greensboro.
“The important thing is not to let this get us down,” Wallach said. “We need to come back and get on another roll.”
NOTES: Carlos Lopez had three hits to extend his streak to 10 games. He’s 25-for-40 in that stretch, an average of .625, and he has two or more hits in nine of those games … Outfielder Austin Dean went on the disabled list with a sprained ligament in a finger on his left hand … Rehiner Cordova, who can play infield and outfield, was activated to take his roster spot.