And then there was one … home game left, that is.
The Hoppers will wrap up the home portion of the regular season with a 7 p.m. game against Lakewood Thursday night. It will be a chance for them to end their home schedule the same way they began - with a win.
Wins have been hard to come by in August, and Wednesday's doubleheader loss to the BlueClaws was no exception. The Hoppers were limited to one hit in the first game, a 4-1 loss. They showed some offense in the second game, but it was too little, too late, in an 8-5 defeat. They made three errors in each game.
"You get one hit in a game, you're not going to win many," said manager Todd Pratt. "In the second game, they battled."
Bright spots were few. From a pitching standpoint, three relievers threw well. In game one, Brandon Miller posted three shutout innings in relief of Edward Cabrera and Steven Farnworth added a scoreless inning. In the second game, Zach Wolf tossed 1 2/3 innings in relief of Taylor Braley, giving the relievers 5 2/3 shutout innings for the night.
The only moment for the offense in the first game came in the sixth inning when Sam Castro walked and Garvis Lara broke up the no-hitter with a double. Jhonny Santos drove in Castro with a sacrifice fly.
In the second game, J.D. Osborne had a two-run triple with no outs in the fifth inning, but was stranded on third. Lara added a two-run triple in the seventh and scored on a wild pitch.
Cabrera retired the first six hitters he faced in the opener, then gave up four runs in the third inning. Two walks contributed to his demise. Braley was gritty through four innings in the second game, giving up three runs (two unearned). But in the next two innings he was tagged for three homers that totaled five runs.
"Cabrera's delivery got out of whack and he lost his secondary stuff," said pitching coach Mark DiFelice. "Braley's slider was getting hit and he got hurt by the long ball."
Trevor Rogers will make his final start of the season Thursday for the Hoppers. He'll be followed by Colton Hock, Sean Guenther, Ethan Clark and possibly Cabreta to finish the season in Kannapolis.
NOTES: Lakewood is 84-49 on the season and 43-21 in the second half … One more win, or a loss by Hickory, will give the Claws the second-half title … Osborne and Chris Torres both had two hits in the second game … The Hoppers have lost nine straight overall and 13th in a row at home.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.