Nick Gonzales' 3 home runs, 8 RBIs lead Hoppers to win
ASHEVILLE ― Nick Gonzales hit three of Greensboro's six home runs and finished with eight RBIs, and the Grasshoppers beat the Asheville Tourists 19-11 in a wild series finale Sunday afternoon at McCormick Field. All nine men in Greensboro's lineup had at least one hit ― the team combined 19
ASHEVILLE ― Nick Gonzales hit three of Greensboro's six home runs and finished with eight RBIs, and the Grasshoppers beat the Asheville Tourists 19-11 in a wild series finale Sunday afternoon at McCormick Field.
All nine men in Greensboro's lineup had at least one hit ― the team combined 19 hits in all ― and the Hoppers outscored the Tourists 15-7 in the final four innings to win the series four games to two.
Gonzales led the way. The 22-year-old second basemen, who is rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 4 prospect in Pittsburgh's farm system, went 4-for-7 with a grand slam, a three-run home run and a solo shot to drive in eight runs.
The seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft, Gonzales has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games to raise his batting average to .298, which ranks sixth in the High-A East among players with enough plate appearances to qualify.
Gonzales broke a finger in May and went on the injured list, and he was batting just .214 on July 15. In 36 games since then, he has hit .361 (56-for-155) with 12 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 29 RBIs. He's third in the league with a .910 OPS.
He wasn't alone Sunday.
The Hoppers have won or split 16 of their 17 six-game series this season. Since splitting their first five series of the season, the Grasshoppers are 49-23 (.681 win percentage).
They come home this week in the thick of a pennant race.
Greensboro (64-38) is in second place in the High-A East's South Division, five games behind Bowling Green (69-33) with just 18 games left in the regular season. But more important, Greensboro remains a half-game ahead North Division leader Hudson Valley (63-38) in the race for the No. 2 record in the league.
The teams with the top two records, regardless of division, qualify for the 12-team league's championship series in September.
Greensboro plays 12 of its last 18 games against Hudson Valley, and the Hoppers host the Renegades in a six-game series starting Tuesday at First National Bank Field. It's Greensboro's final home series of the regular season.
- Third baseman Jared Triolo leads the High-A East with 109 hits, and he ranks second with 72 RBIs and a .304 batting average. Triolo was batting just .217 on June 2, but in 70 games since then he has batted .331 with 20 doubles, 12 home runs, 57 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.
- The Hoppers have three of the top six hitters in the High-A East among players with enough plate appearances to qualify: No. 1 Matt Fraizer at .314; No. 2 Jared Triolo at .304; and No. 6 Nick Gonzales at .298. Fraizer, who was promoted to Class-AA Altoona on Aug. 5, has batted .313 in 21 games with the Curve.
- Outfielder Matt Gorski has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games, batting .316 (24-for-76) with 16 runs scored during that stretch.
- Outfielder Lolo Sanchez got the day off Sunday. He leads the league with 50 walks and 28 stolen bases. In his last 17 games, Sanchez has batted .375 (24-for-64) with 17 runs scored.
- Center fielder Jonah Davis was sent down from Class-AA Altoona on Aug. 5 and went just 2-for-25 in his first eight games. But in 10 games since then, Davis is 10-for-28 (.357) with four home runs, two doubles, seven walks and 11 RBIs.
- In MLB Pipeline's revised list of Pittsburgh's prospects, Greensboro has seven of the top 15: No. 1 catcher Henry Davis (who will likely miss the rest of the season with an oblique injury); No. 2 pitcher Quinn Priester, No. 4 second baseman Nick Gonzales, No. 5 shortstop Liover Peguero, No. 10 pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski, No. 13 pitcher Tahnaj Thomas and No. 14 pitcher Michael Burrows.
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.