GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For the third straight night, Delmarva dropped a tight decision in Greensboro, all come-from-behind wins for the Grasshoppers. On Saturday, an eighth inning home run propelled Greensboro over Delmarva by a final score of 3-2.
Sebastian Vader rolled in his first start with Delmarva this season. The right-hander allowed just one run on five hits and a walk in six solid innings. Greensboro's only run off Vader was single-handedly manufactured by Zach Sullivan in the third inning. The outfielder reached on a bunt single, stole second base and tagged up on a fly ball. Sullivan scored on a wild pitch to give the Hoppers a 1-0 advantage.
Delmarva squandered a couple of early opportunities against starter Ben Holmes. The Shorebirds left two runners on base in both the third and fourth innings. In the fifth, Jonah Heim was thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning.
The Shorebirds finally broke through in the sixth. After Cam Kneeland drew a walk, Jamill Moquete sailed a flyball over the head of Isael Soto in center for an RBI triple. After a pitching change, Elier Leyva delivered the go-ahead single, fired up the middle for a 2-1 lead.
Derrick Bleeker danced out of danger in the seventh to keep the lead. Bleeker allowed a couple of singles to put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. The reliever froze Soto on a slider for the final out of the inning.
The eighth inning proved pivotal on both sides. Alex Murphy led off the top half with a double, moving to third with no outs. Representing a crucial insurance run, Murphy was stranded after a sharp grounder with the infield in, and two strikeouts. In the bottom half, Austen Smith launched a two-run home run off Bleeker to put the Grasshoppers up 3-2.
Josh Hodges pitched a perfect ninth inning for his first save of the season. James Buckelew earned the win, while Bleeker took the loss for Delmarva. The Shorebirds have lost four in a row, back to .500 on the season at 5-5. The set at Greensboro is the first series loss for Delmarva this year.
The Shorebirds will try to salvage the series in the Sunday finale. A pair of southpaws square off, Bennett Parry (0-0, 3.38) for Delmarva and Michael Mader (0-2, 24.92) for Greensboro. First pitch is slated for 4:00 pm at NewBridge Bank Park.