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Talk about breaking up the old gang.
Following Thursday's 5-0 loss to Delmarva, the Hoppers learned that catcher Chad Wallach, the second leading hitter in the South Atlantic League, is being promoted to Jupiter. Wallach went 1-for-4 in his last game with Greensboro to finish with a .342 average here.
He becomes the fifth player from the first half Northern Division champions to be promoted to Jupiter by the Miami Marlins. Wallach joins shortstop Justin Bohn, second baseman Avery Romero, starter Matt Milroy and closer Sean Donatello. In addition, outfielder Cody Keefer, who began the season there, is back with the Hammerheads after hitting .319 in 43 games after being sent down to Greensboro.
"I've never seen (the Marlins) do this with teams that are in the postseason," Hoppers manager David Berg said of all the moves. "But it opens up opportunities and you never know who's going to step up. You never know."
The Hoppers went 44-26 to win the first half and qualify for the South Atlantic League playoffs. They have continued to play well in the second half and are tied for first place with Hagerstown at 18-10. Overall Greensboro is 62-36.
In addition to filling the holes created by the promotions, the Hoppers are holding their pitching rotation together with baling wire. The latest setback is Sean Townsley, who has won five straight starts. He was scheduled to start Sunday's game but will be held out with a shoulder issue, which the Hoppers hope is not serious.
Townsley may or may not go on the disabled list. Already there are Ryan Newell (mononucleosis) and Max Garner (foot). Domingo German, whose innings are being closely monitored, missed one start while participating in the Futures Game and will also miss his next one, but will eventually be back in the rotation.
Right-hander Jose Adames will pitch in German's spot Saturday after going 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA in Batavia. The Hoppers haven't named a pitcher for Townsley's start Sunday.
As for Thursday's game, it was scoreless through five innings and it had the feel of a game where the first team to score would win. That turned out to be Delmarva, which nicked Jarlin Garcia for two runs in the sixth. The left-hander was a bit unlucky, giving up a two-run double that wasn't hit hard but glanced off the top of the glove of first baseman Felix Munoz, who jumped a moment too early.
Although Garcia wound up with the loss, it was his best outing in some time. He pitched seven innings and gave up five hits and three unearned runs while striking out six.
"He got hit hard the first two innings but he committed to the fastball," said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. "The middle three innings were outstanding. He was able to use his secondary stuff as weapons.
"For me, if you pitch seven innings and give up three or fewer runs, you've got a chance to win a lot of games. It was definitely a positive for him."
The Hoppers couldn't do much against Delmarva starter Luis Gonzalez and relievers Jeff Keller and Austin Urban. They managed seven hits, all singles. Three of those were by Austin Dean.
There were two good chances to score. In the fourth, with runners on first and third and one out, Joel Jimenez hit a hard grounder right at third baseman Drew Dosch, who turned it into an around-the-horn double play. With two outs in the sixth, J.T. Riddle drilled one into the gap in left-center. Rehiner Cordova was off when the ball was hit and was waved around third base by Berg. But the Shorebirds made a nice play and threw out Riddle at second before Cordova crossed the plate.