GREENSBORO, N.C. (July 13, 2018) -- The Grasshoppers rallied to tie the game in the eighth before scoring a thrilling extra-inning walk-off win over the Kannapolis Intimidators, 5-4 in 10 innings, on Friday night at First National Bank Field. Greensboro (45-45, 11-10 Second Half) improved to 5-1 in extra-inning games
GREENSBORO, N.C. (July 13, 2018) -- The Grasshoppers rallied to tie the game in the eighth before scoring a thrilling extra-inning walk-off win over the Kannapolis Intimidators, 5-4 in 10 innings, on Friday night at First National Bank Field. Greensboro (45-45, 11-10 Second Half) improved to 5-1 in extra-inning games and secured a series win, 2-games-to-1, in the 3-game set against Kannapolis.
With a runner starting extra innings on second base under Minor League Baseball's new pace-of-play rules, the Intimidators quickly pushed the base runner across the plate in the top of the 10th. Nolan Brown laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving pinch-runner JJ Muno from second to third base. Luis Curbelo followed with an RBI-single for a 4-3 lead before Craig Dedelow grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Trailing by one in the bottom of the 10th, Greensboro capitalized on a Kannapolis error to tie the game. With Rodrigo Ayarza opening the inning on second base, Thomas Jones laid down a sac-bunt that Intimidators catcher Michael Hickman threw away, allowing Ayarza to score the tying run and allowing Jones to advance to second base. Jose Devers moved Jones to third on a sac-bunt. Two batters later, Will Allen chopped a ball into the infield where pitcher Aron McRee deflected the ball as second baseman Tate Blackman attempted to field the grounder, allowing Jones to score the winning run.
Allen finished 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI while Jones paced the offense with a 3-for-4 night and two runs scored.
Hoppers reliever Sean Guenther (2-0) earned the win with 5.0 quiet innings, striking out two batters while allowing one unearned run on two hits. McRee (3-3) suffered the loss, allowing two unearned runs in the 10th.
The Hoppers trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth when the top of order jump-started a game-tying 2-run rally, eventually forcing extra innings. Jones and Devers led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Tristan Pompey followed with a double to cash Jones, chasing Intimidators reliever Joe Mockbee from the game. Allen welcomed the new pitcher, McRee, to the mound with a sac-fly to plate Devers, tying the game, 3-3.
Kannapolis built a 3-0 lead over the early innings. In the top of the second, Johan Cruz drew a 2-out walk, moved to second base on a passed ball, and scored on Justin Yurchak's RBI-single for the game's first run. Two innings later, Cruz smacked a run-scoring double, cashing Michael Hickman, and came around to score on an Evan Skoug sacrifice fly for the 3-run advantage.
Greensboro broke through in the bottom of the fifth when Harrison DiNicola singled and later scored on Rodrigo Ayarza's RBI-base hit.
The Grasshoppers continue this 7-game home stand on Saturday when they welcome the Asheville Tourists to First National Bank Field for a 4-game series. Saturday's game starts at 7:00 p.m. with gates opening at 6:00 p.m. and post-game fireworks presented by Cone Health. Tickets are available online at gsohoppers.com.