GREENSBORO, N.C. (July 27, 2018) -- Daniel Castano tossed 6.0 scoreless innings to pitch the Grasshoppers to a shutout win, 3-0, over the visiting Crawdads on Friday at First National Bank Field. Greensboro notched its eighth shutout win of the season while claiming victory in opener of a 3-game series.
After Hickory left the bases loaded in the top of the first inning, Greensboro (50-53, 16-18 Second Half) capitalized in the home half of the frame. Thomas Jones and Tristan Pompey each singled, sandwiching a Jose Dever hit-by-pitch to load the bases with no outs against Hickory starting pitcher Tyree Thompson. Isael Soto and Marcos Rivera followed with back-to-back sacrifice flies, driving in Jones and Devers for a 2-0 lead.
Castano (3-2) earned the win, striking out seven batters while working around six hits and three walks -- the first three walks he has issued with the Grasshoppers in 2018. The right-hander has now fanned 43 batters with three walks in 38.0 innings since joining Greensboro in late June. Thompson (6-8) took the loss, giving up three runs in 6 and 1/3 innings for the Crawdads.
Gabriel Castellanos worked a scoreless seventh and eighth before Michael Mertz spun a clean ninth for the save (3).
Castano once again worked around trouble in the second inning. He issued a leadoff walk to Hickory's Sam Huff before striking out the next two batters on his way to another scorelss frame. Ryan Dorow led off the top of the third with a base hit, but Greensboro turned a 6-4-3 doubleplay, Devers to Gunner Schubert to Harrison DiNicola, to erase the runner.
Grasshoppers manager Todd Pratt was ejected in the top of the fifth inning by base umpire Thomas Fornarola arguing a Crawdads' stolen base. After Yonny Hernandez swiped second, the Hickory baserunner broke for third base one pitch later and was ruled safe, prompting Pratt to emerge from the dugout. The Crawdads ran wild on the base paths all night, stealing six bases -- the most by a Grasshoppers foe this season -- including three by Hernandez.
In the bottom of the seventh, Greensboro added an insurance run after loading the bases with one out, chasing Thompson from the game. Hickory brought in Jean Casanova, and the reliever gave up a Thomas Jones line drive to left field where Pedro Gonzalez deeked the runners and made a throw to third base for a force-out while Michael Hernandez crossed the plate on the RBI-out.
The Grasshoppers and Crawdads play Game 2 of this 3-game series on Saturday night at First National Bank Field. Gates open at 6 p.m. with first pitch at 7:00 p.m., and tickets are available online at gsohoppers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.