A new day, a new game and a new result.
One night after the Hoppers dropped their opening game to Hickory, they bounced back Friday and drubbed the Crawdads 8-1 at NewBridge Bank Park.
Pitching ruled the night as four hurlers combined to hold Hickory to three hits while striking out 11. Starter Jarlin Garcia went five innings to pick up the win, allowing three hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He wasn't fazed by giving up a run in the first inning, shutting the Crawdads down after that.
The bullpen, tagged hard on Thursday, rebounded with four shutout innings and four strikeouts. Sean Donatello pitched two innings followed by Blake Logan and James Wooster with an inning apiece.
"It was an outstanding effort," said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. "We pitched ahead in a lot of counts and that allows you to throw the pitch you want to throw. Garcia used his changeup to get right-handers out and his slider to get left-handers out."
The offense was extremely efficient, bunching all its hits and runs into two innings. The Hoppers scored three runs on three hits in the second inning and added five runs on five hits in the sixth. Hickory helped by committing three errors - they have seven in two games now - which led to five unearned runs.
"The difference from Thursday night was we took advantage when they made mistakes," said manager David Berg. "We got some big two-out hits and made a couple of good defensive plays."
Sharif Othman had a two-run double in the second inning, J.T. Riddle had a broken-bat double that drove in two runs in the fifth and Justin Bohn had an RBI in each inning. Yefri Perez and Avery Romero added the other RBIs. Felix Munoz, Romero and Othman each scored twice.
Othman, who was with the Hoppers for awhile last season, gave the team the lead for good when he pulled a double down the right-field line to score two runs in the second inning.
"I wasn't looking to hit the ball down the line," he said. "I just wanted to make solid contact. I want to be consistent at the plate this year."
Othman got just as much pleasure from catching the Hoppers pitchers.
"They showed a lot of maturity and threw a lot of strikes," he said. "Garcia has really grown from last year. His stuff was strong and powerful.
"I caught Donatello and Logan last year (in Greensboro) so we're like peas in a pod. We work together well."
Wooster, an outfielder here in 2011 (he has a championship ring from that season) and 2012, converted to pitching last season and was roughed up in Batavia. Powell said Wooster has improved considerably.
"He took his experience from last year into spring training and he's a lot better," Powell said. "He's a left-handed arm with a good angle on his fastball. If he continues to do that, he'll be fine."
The teams play the third game of the series tonight. Right-hander Ryan Newell will be the Hoppers' starter.