Soto's HR not enough to buoy Hoppers

Shorebirds pitching faces minimum into 8th inning

By Josh Feldman / Greensboro Grasshoppers | August 23, 2018 9:38 PM

GREENSBORO, N.C. (August 23, 2018) -- Isael Soto launched a 2-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Grasshoppers could not climb out of a 5-run hole against the Delmarva Shorebirds, falling 5-2 on Thursday night at First National Bank Field. Greensboro (23-33 Second Half, 57-68 Overall) managed three hits on the night, with two of them being rolled into double plays in the fifth and sixth inning.

Delmarva's Brenan Hanifee (8-5) earned the win with 5.0 shutout innings, striking out four and walking none. He allowed just one hit, a Will Banfield single, before inducing a 6-4-3 twin-killing off the bat of Jerar Encarnacion to erase the runner. Cameron Ming kept Greensboro off the board in the sixth and seventh before giving up Soto's blast in the eighth. Nick Vespi tossed a clean ninth inning for the save (7).  

Grasshoppers pitchers combined to strikeout 12 batters, one shy of the team's season-high in 2018. Starter Taylor Braley (5-8) took the loss, giving up four runs in nine hits in 5.0 innings. Michael Mertz also fanned five batters in 2.0 relief innings to close the game after taking over for Nestor Bautista.  

The Shorebirds, already ahead 1-0, erupted for four more runs in the top of the sixth. Seamus Curran, Trevor Craport, and Ryan Ripken each hit safely against Braley to lead off the inning, including Ripken's 2-run single to chase the Hoppers starter from the mound.  

Greensboro left no runners on base in the game.  

After sending the minimum to the plate two outs into bottom of the eighth inning, Chris Torres reached base on a Shorebirds error by third baseman Jean Carlos Encarnacion. Soto followed with his home run (11), however Greensboro was unable to put another man on base the rest of the night.

The Grasshoppers and Shorebirds continue this series on Friday at 7:00 p.m. with gates opening at 6:00 p.m. and post-game fireworks presented by Lincoln Financial, Rock 92, and WFNY News 2. Tickets are available online at

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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