Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers lose in 11, fall one game behind

Hoppers lose in 11, fall one game behind
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at

KANNAPOLIS?—?The Hoppers suffered a tough loss Thursday night, dropping a 6–5 decision to Kannapolis in 11 innings.

The other three contenders in the race the for the second-half pennant in the SAL Northern Division all won. Hickory moved back into first place, a game ahead of Greensboro. West Virginia is in third place, three games behind the Crawdads. Hagerstown is four games behind.

The Hoppers now head to Rome for a three-game series with the Braves.

Greensboro fell behind 3–1 Thursday but struck for four runs in the fifth inning. The big blow was a two-run double by Alex Jones that produced a 5–3 lead. But the Intimidators got a run back in the bottom of the fifth and then tied it with a run in the seventh.

The teams traded scoreless innings in the eighth, ninth and 10th. The Hoppers had two runners thrown out trying to take an extra base in the ninth. Rony Cabrera was thrown out at second and Luis Pintor was cut down at third base.

In the 11th reliever Jared Lakind walked the leadoff batter (the seventh walk allowed by Hoppers pitching). After a bunt single, Gavin Sheets singled in the winning run, which scored from second base.

Hoppers starter Dustin Beggs, seeking his 10th win, pitched 5 2/3 innings, surrendering nine hits and giving up four runs. Nestor Bautista gave up one run, Chad Smith pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Lakind pitched an inning before giving up the winning run.

Brian Miller had a pair of doubles among his three hits and scored twice. Jones and Cabrera had two hits each, Eric Gutierrez had two RBIs and Trenton Hill added an RBI.

NOTES: Max Duval is the scheduled starter for the opener against Rome … The Hoppers were hoping third baseman James Nelson, who has been on the DL with a pulled hamstring, will be able to rejoin the team for the Rome series.