Hagerstown, MD - Juan Soto tied for the league lead with his fourth home run of the season as the Hagerstown Suns lost a hotly contested game on Friday night to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, 6-4, at Hagerstown Municipal Stadium. The Suns are 2-7 overall and will play the third game of the series on Saturday with a 6:05 PM first pitch.
The back-and-fourth started in the second inning with Greensboro getting on the board first against Suns starter Tomas Alastre. J.C. Millan led off the inning with a solo homer to put the Grasshoppers up 1-0. B.J. Lopez followed with a double and went to third when Jhonny Santos laid down a sacrifice bunt. Sam Castro tripled to right, scoring Lopez and giving the Grasshoppers a 2-0 advantage.
Hagerstown responded in the bottom half of the inning against Greensboro's starter, Ryan Lillie. Nick Banks singled to left and Aldrem Corredor doubled to right, scoring Banks from first to cut the deficit in half. Alex Flores singled to right which plated Corredor and tied the game, 2-2.
Two innings later, Greensboro put up a pair of runs to take the lead back on a costly error by the Suns. With one out, Eric Gutierrez singled to left and went to second on a wild pitch. Micah Brown followed with a single of his own to push Gutierrez to third and Alastre threw another wild pitch that advanced Brown to second with Gutierrez staying at third. Millan grounded a ball to Luis Garcia at shortstop but made an errant throw that allowed both Gutierrez and Brown to score with one of the runs being earned. Greensboro took a two-run lead for the second time in the game, 4-2.
Hagerstown pulled even again in the bottom of the fifth against 'Hoppers reliever Nestor Bautista. Armond Upshaw led off the inning with a double to center field and with two outs, Soto homered to right-center field to tie the game at 4-4. Soto's homer was his fourth of the season and first at home, tying him for the league lead in home runs for the season.
Greensboro scored two more runs in the ninth to take the lead for the final time against Kyle Johnston, who was on in relief for the Suns. With one out Isael Soto walked and went to second when Gutierrez singled to left in the next at-bat. Brown grounded into a force out, with Gutierrez being retired at second and leaving runners at the corners. Millan walked to load the bases and Lopez singled to left, scoring Soto and Brown to give the Grasshoppers a 6-4 advantage.
In the bottom of the ninth with one out against Greensboro reliever Travis Neubert, Flores walked to bring Upshaw to the plate representing the tying run. Upshaw grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game with the Suns taking their seventh loss of the season, 6-4.
Alastre ended up with a no decision in his second start of the season, throwing five innings while allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Sam Held made his 2018 Hagerstown debut, tossing three shutout innings in relief while allowing three hits with four strikeouts. Johnston (0-1) allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout over one inning in a loss.
Notes: Soto's home run is his first game-tying homer of the year and his second homer to center field… The Suns have hit eight homers this season and half of them are two-run homers… In two games at Hagerstown Municipal Stadium they have equaled the amount of home runs the team has hit in seven games on the road… Freeman had his second multi-hit game of the season… Franco had his first multi-hit game of the year… Banks has three multi-hit games and has back-to-back two-hit games… Soto has a four-game hit streak… Corredor has a three-game hitting streak.. Franco snapped a five-game hitless streak with two hits on Friday… The Suns will play the third of four games against Greensboro on Saturday with a 6:05 PM first pitch… Opening weekend continues on Saturday… It's also Work Zone Appreciation Night presented by MDOT and SHA… Hagerstown will send LHP Jackson Stoeckinger (0-1, 18.00 ERA) to the mound against Greensboro RHP Taylor Braley (0-1, 6.75 ERA)… The broadcast can be heard, starting with the pregame show at 5:50 PM on www.hagerstownsuns.com and going to multimedia and "Listen Live" which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android… The broadcast is also available on the Hagerstown Suns Radio Network in the Tune-In Radio App.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.