GREENSBORO, NC - Brenan Hanifee returned to form and the Delmarva Shorebirds came up with offense at the right time, downing the Greensboro Grasshoppers 5-2 on Thursday night at First National Bank Field.
Hanifee (8-5) earned his first win for the Shorebirds (27-29, 62-61) since June 28, also in Greensboro, giving up just one hit over five scoreless innings. He walked none and struck four, facing the minimum 15 batters. Taylor Braley (5-8) took the loss for the Grasshoppers (23-33, 57-68), surrendering four runs on nine hits over five-plus. Nick Vespi nailed down his team-best seventh save with a perfect ninth.
Delmarva took control right from the get-go. Mason McCoy singled on the second pitch of the game and eventually stole second base. With two out, Jean Carlos Encarnacion grooved a single through the left side, scoring McCoy to put the visitors up 1-0 in the first.
After knocking on the door in the fourth, the Shorebirds finally busted through for a big sixth. Seamus Curran led off with a base hit, then Trevor Craport ripped a double down the left field line to put men on second and third. Swinging on a 3-0 count, Ryan Ripken bounced a single into center, scoring both runners to make it 3-0 Shorebirds and knock out Braley.
Nestor Bautista entered from there, and Ben Breazeale greeted him with a single. After a flyout and fielder's choice, Cadyn Grenier and Zach Jarrett notched back-to-back singles, bringing home a run each to push the lead to 5-0.
After seven lifeless innings, the Grasshoppers finally woke up thanks to a Delmarva miscue in the eighth. Chris Torres hit a two-out grounder to third that struck the lip of the grass and caused trouble for Encarnacion, resulted in an error. Isael Soto clubbed the next pitch over the right field fence for a line drive home run, his 11th of the year, to bust up the shutout and give the game its final margin.
The homer was the only blemish against Cameron Ming, who was otherwise effective in his three innings. Vespi sat Greensboro down 1-2-3 in the ninth, and the Grasshoppers finished the game with nobody left on base.
Ripken finished 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs for the Shorebirds, while McCoy went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs and a stolen base. Grenier and Craport also finished with two-hit games as part of a 13-hit Delmarva attack.
Soto notched two of Greensboro's three hits, going 2-for-3 with the two-run homer. A Will Banfield single in the fifth off Hanifee was the Grasshoppers' only other tally on the night.
The Shorebirds go for two wins in a row over the Grasshoppers on Friday night. DL Hall (2-7, 2.21) is set to pitch for Delmarva against Greensboro's Trevor Rogers (2-5, 5.06). First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:45 with Will DeBoer on the call.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.