The Grasshoppers brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but could not overcome a 6-run deficit in an eventual 7-4 loss to the Augusta GreenJackets at First National Bank Field. Greensboro (3-1) dropped its first game of the 2018 campaign while the pitching staff bolsters their stats as four pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.
GREENSBORO, NC (April 9, 2018) - The Grasshoppers brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but could not overcome a 6-run deficit in an eventual 7-4 loss to the Augusta GreenJackets at First National Bank Field. Greensboro (3-1) dropped its first game of the 2018 campaign while the pitching staff bolsters their stats as four pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.
Trailing 7-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, Greensboro batted around against Augusta reliever Camilo Doval. With one out, Jhonny Santos walked, and B.J. Lopez followed with a base-hit that GreenJackets right-fielder Logan Baldwin misplayed, allowing Santos to score on the error. Two batters later, the two-out rally picked up as Sam Castro walked, and Garvis Lara singled to load the bases. Micah Brown singled up the middle to plate Lopez, and Eric Gutierrez reached on a fielders choice that cashed Castro to pull the Hoppers within three, 7-4.
With the bases loaded, and the winning run at the plate, Augusta turned to reliever John Russell, who struck out Marcos Rivera for the game's final out.
Russell earned the save (1) for his troubles, preserving a win for GreenJackets' starting pitcher Joe Marciano, who worked 5.0 innings and allowed a run on three hits. Grasshoppers starter Taylor Braley (0-1) took the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits over 4.0 innings of work.
Augusta wasted no time in getting on the board as Malique Ziegler drove the game's first pitch down the left field line for a home run (1). Three batters later, Ryan Kirby added a 2-run blast (1) for a 3-0 lead for the GreenJackets.
In the top of the third, Augusta extended their lead with a pair of unearned runs aided by a Greensboro error. With one out, Jacob Gonzalez reached base for the GreenJackets on a J.C. Millan fielding error. Manuel Geraldo and Shane Matheny followed with base hits to score Gonzalez. Geraldo later crossed the plate on a Jeffry Parra groundout for a 5-0 advantage.
Greensboro broke the shutout in the home half of the third when Zach Sullivan doubled down the left field line and scored one batter later on a Sam Castro base hit.
Braley (four strikeouts) combined with relievers Nestor Bautista (three), Reilly Hovis (two), and Manuel Rodriguez (four) for a season-best 13 strikeouts by the Hoppers pitching staff.
Greensboro continues this season-opening home stand on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. with Game 2 of the 3-game series against the GreenJackets. 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.