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Justin Meis' six shutout innings spark Hoppers

Meis strikes out eight in bounce-back start, and Hudson Head and Dariel Lopez hit home runs
Greensboro right-hander Justin Meis bounced back from two rough starts with six shutout innings against Asheville. (Kaylen Ayres/contributed photo)
June 22, 2022

GREENSBORO ― The slider is too darn pretty for the statistics to look so ugly. And so for Justin Meis, it was only a matter of time before things evened out a little bit. Meis struck out eight in six shutout innings, leading the Greensboro Grasshoppers to a 9-2 victory

GREENSBORO ― The slider is too darn pretty for the statistics to look so ugly.

And so for Justin Meis, it was only a matter of time before things evened out a little bit.

Meis struck out eight in six shutout innings, leading the Greensboro Grasshoppers to a 9-2 victory over the Asheville Tourists at First National Bank Field on a warm Wednesday afternoon.

Hudson Head hit a 402-foot three-run home run for the Hoppers, and Dariel Lopez went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and an RBI single. Endy Rodriguez doubled twice, scored twice and drove in a run.

It was a bounce-back victory for the Hoppers, and an even bigger bounce-back performance for Meis.

The 22-year-old right-hander was promoted to Greensboro from Class-A Bradenton on June 7, and struggled mightily in his first two starts. He didn’t get out of the first inning in either of them, retiring just two of the 12 batters he faced and allowing eight earned runs on eight hits and two walks.

He came into Wednesday’s matinee with an ERA of 108.00. But with each out, the ERA shrank until Meis had shaved more than 97 runs off the average. Mixing a sharp slider with a low-90s mph fastball, Meis (1-1) gave up three hits and two walks in six strong innings. His ERA is now 10.80 and falling.

Sammy Siani went 2-for-4 with a walk, and his RBI in the second inning off losing pitcher Diasmerky Tavaras (0-2) staked Meis to a 1-0 lead.

The Hoppers tacked on four more in the fifth and Lopez’s RBI single and Head’s long home run over the right-field fence and onto Eugene Street.

NOTES

  • Right-hander Justin Meis earned his promotion by going 3-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 10 games for the Bradenton Marauders of the Class-A Florida State League, striking out 42 in 41 innings of work.
  • First baseman Jacob Gonzalez went 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run single in the eighth inning that finished the scoring. Gonzalez has been one of the South Atlantic League's best players since his promotion from Class-A Bradenton on May 10. He has hit safely in 27 of 33 games since then, with 11 multi-hit games. Gonzalez is 41-for-128 (.320) with seven doubles, a triple, five home runs and 19 RBIs.
  • Endy Rodriguez has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games, going 11-for-33 (.333) with five doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. Rodriguez started in left field Wednesday. The versatile 22-year-old is rated by MLB Pipeline as Pittsburgh's No. 7 prospect, and he has played four positions ― catcher, first base, second base and left field ― this season.
  • Center fielder Hudson Head, a 21-year-old rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 20 prospect in Pittsburgh's farm system, has reached base in 35 of his last 40 games.

In his career at the News & Record, journalist Jeff Mills won 10 national and 12 state writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, the Society for Features Journalism, and the N.C. Press Association.