HAGERSTOWN, Md. (April 12, 2018) - Playing in their first extra-inning game of the season, Aaron Knapp doubled home Michael Hernandez in the top of the 10th inning as the Grasshoppers earned a road win over the Suns, 10-9, on Thursday at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown. Hernandez began the inning as a runner on second base under Minor League Baseball's new rules designed to improve pace of play.
In the top of the 10th, Hagerstown turned to reliever Max Engelbrekt, who allowed a sacrifice bunt to Zach Sullivan, moving Hernandez to third. Sam Castro grounded out against a drawn-in infield, setting up Knapp's two-out double to bring in the go-ahead run, giving the Grasshoppers their first lead of the game.
Hoppers relievers worked around the extra baserunner in extra innings, as Cole Freeman - who opened the bottom of the 10th inning on second base - fell victim to a fielder's choice on a ground ball one at-bat into the inning. Following a walk, Greensboro turned a double-play as Nick Banks lined out to pitcher Manuel Rodriguez who threw second base to double off the runner to end the game.
Reilly Hovis (1-0) earned the win with 2.0 scoreless relief innings, and Rodriguez earned the save (1) while Hagerstown's Engelbrekt (0-1) took the loss, allowing an unearned run in the 10th.
Greensboro (4-3) trailed 5-0 after two innings before slowly chipping away at Hagerstown's lead. In the third inning, Sullivan put the Hoppers on the board on an Isael Soto sac-fly. One inning later, Sullivan's 2-run home run (1) pulled the Grasshoppers within two, 5-3. The Suns extended their lead to 7-3 thanks to Banks' 2-run blast in the home half of the fourth.
Hagerstown led 9-6 through seven innings, but Greensboro closed the gap thanks to a run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to force extra innings.
The Grasshoppers pounded out 13 hits on the night as Knapp, Soto, Eric Gutierrez, Micah Brown, and Sullivan all enjoyed 2-hit performances with both Sullivan and Brown notching their first home runs of the campaign.
Hagerstown's Luis Garcia pounded out four hits in a losing effort, while three different Suns - Banks, Kameron Esthay, and Alejandro Flores - homered on the night.
The Grasshoppers continue this 4-game series against the Suns on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. Greensboro is back at First National Bank Field on Thursday, April 19, to open a 4-game home stand against the Charleston RiverDogs. 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.