Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers regroup to top BlueClaws 8–3

Hoppers regroup to top BlueClaws 8–3
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at

The Hoppers combined solid pitching with some good hitting to produce an 8–3 win over Lakewood Wednesday afternoon.
(Full disclosure: I was not able to attend the game.)

Starting pitcher Michael King bounced back from a terrible outing to throw well, giving up three runs and two hits in six innings en route to his fourth win of the year. King had surrendered nine runs in five innings in his previous start.

The only trouble he encountered this time was Lakewood cleanup hitter Darick Hall, who had an RBI double in the first inning and a two-run homer in the fourth inning. No one else in the lineup got a hit off of him.

“He got stronger as the game went on,” manager Todd Pratt said in a phone conversation.

Reilly Hovis gave up one hit in two shutout innings of relief. Ryley McEachern gave up a double and two walks in the ninth inning, but got out of the situation by striking out Raul Rivas to end the game.

On offense, the Hoppers’ two big left-handed hitters, Colby Lusignan and Boo Vazquez, each produced three hits. Lusignan, mired in a slump that at one point had reached 0-for-34, had two doubles and a triple, knocked in a run and scored twice.

“The difference for him today was he was on time, swung through the middle (of the field) and got the barrel of the bat out,” Pratt said.
Vazquez drove in a pair of runs and scored once as he bumped his average up to .301. James Nelson had a two-run single that moved his hitting streak to 17 games. Aaron Knapp added a solo home run.

The Hoppers broke a five-game losing streak to the BlueClaws and avoided being swept by them for the second straight time. Their record is 28–24, one-half game behind third-place Kannapolis in the SAL Northern Division. Lakewood is in second and Hagerstown in first.

That’s who they play next, opening a four-game series at Kannapolis Thursday night. Jordan Holloway will pitch the opening game.