LAKEWOOD, N.J. (July 23, 2018) -- The Grasshoppers suffered their third walk-off defeat on this 8-game road trip with a 7-6 setback in 10 innings to the BlueClaws on Monday at FirstEnergy Park. Lakewood rallied to tie the game with three runs in the eighth before eventually winning in the 10th, giving Greensboro its third walk-off defeat in its last four games.
Grasshoppers starter Trevor Rogers tossed his second straight quality start, taking no decision. He worked 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on three hits while working around four walks and striking out seven batters -- one shy of his career-high set in his previous start on July 17 vs. Asheville. He combined with relievers Steven Farnworth (two strikeouts) and Nestor Bautista (four strikeouts) as the Hoppers matched their season-best total of 13 strikeouts in a game.
Jake Scheiner paced the BlueClaws with a pair of triples, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Marcos Rivera added a 3-hit night for the Grasshoppers while Tristan Pompey and Thomas Jones also enjoyed a multi-hit evening.
Lakewood trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth when the home team rallied for three runs off Ryan McKay to tie the game and eventually force extra innings. The BlueClaws worked three-forths of the way to a natural cycle in the frame as Jose Antequera led off with a single, and Dalton Guthrie followed with a double. Two batters later, Jake Scheiner roped a triple to right field, scoring Antequera and Guthrie to pull Lakewood within a run. Jhailyn Ortiz drove in Scheiner with an RBI-double to tie the game, 5-5, and chase McKay from the game.
Isael Soto started the top of the 10th on second base, moved to third on a Marcos Rivera sacrifice bunt, and eventually scored on Gunner Schubert's groundout for a 6-5 lead. The BlueClaws bounced back, pushing Muzziotti -- who began the inning on second base -- across the plate on a bases-loaded double play that left Scheiner on third base. Nick Maton followed with the game-winning RBI-single to score Scheiner and squash the Grasshoppers.
Pompey put Greensboro on the board in the top of the first with a 2-out solo home run (1). Lakewood used back-to-back triples in the bottom of the first to tie the game and eventually pull ahead. Simon Muzziotti cranked a 1-out triple to left field, and Scheiner followed with a 3-base hit on a line to center field, scoring Muzziotti to tie the game, 1-1. Scheiner scored on a Matt Vierling groundout to give the BlueClaws a 2-1 advantage.
Rogers bounced back from the 2-run first inning, shutting out Lakewood over his final five innings of work. Greensboro's right-handed pitcher turned the ball over to Farnworth for a scoreless seventh before McKay got into trouble in the eighth. Nestor Bautista tossed 1 and 2/3 scoreless relief innings, and Michael Mertz (1-4) suffered the loss for the Grasshoppers, allowing two runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning in the 10th.
Zach Warren (2-1) earned the win for Lakewood, tossing 2.0 innings and allowing an unearned run on no hits and two walks while striking out four. Warren, BlueClaws starter Gustavo Armas and reliever Luis Ramirez combined for 15 strikeouts on the night.
The Grasshoppers have now endured three walk-off defeats in their last four games after having not suffered a walk-off defeat since April. On July 20 at Delmarva, the Shorebirds edged the Grasshoppers 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Two days later, in Game 1 of a July 22 doubleheader, Delmarva rallied for a 4-3 win in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Grasshoppers are now 4-5 in walk-off games in 2018.
Greensboro and Lakewood play Game 2 of this 4-game series on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at FirstEnergy Park. The Grasshoppers return home to First National Bank Field on Friday to host a 3-game series against the Hickory Crawdads, 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.