Hudson Valley snaps Hoppers' 8-game winning streak
GREENSBORO ― The postgame fireworks were spectacular. The in-game fireworks snapped the Greensboro Grasshoppers' eight-game winning streak. Everson Pereira hit three of Hudson Valley's 10 home runs, and the Renegades staved off a six-game series sweep by defeating the Grasshoppers 23-4 on Sunday night in Greensboro's regular-season home finale at
GREENSBORO ― The postgame fireworks were spectacular. The in-game fireworks snapped the Greensboro Grasshoppers' eight-game winning streak.
Everson Pereira hit three of Hudson Valley's 10 home runs, and the Renegades staved off a six-game series sweep by defeating the Grasshoppers 23-4 on Sunday night in Greensboro's regular-season home finale at First National Bank Field.
Hudson Valley sent 18 batters to the plate and scored 14 runs in the top of the ninth inning to run away with this game, but Greensboro won five of six games in the critical series and holds a 4 1/2 game lead on the Renegades for the second-best record in the 12-team High-A East league.
Greensboro (69-39) finishes the regular season with a 36-24 record at home. The Hoppers close out the season with 12 games on the road: six this week in Lakewood, N.J., at the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, followed by six at Wappingers Falls, N.Y., against North Division Leader Hudson Valley (64-43).
The Hoppers have won 10 of their last 13 games, but they trail first-place Bowling Green (75-33) by six games in the South Division standings. Even so, Greensboro controls its own playoff destiny.
Any combination of Hoppers' wins and Renegades' losses adding up to nine over the next two weeks will clinch a playoff spot for Greensboro.
The two teams with the best records ― regardless of division ― qualify for the High-A East's best-of-five championship series. The playoffs begin with two games at the lower seed's home park Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 21 and 22. Thursday is a travel day to the top seed's ballpark, with games Sept. 24, 25 and 26 if necessary.
Pereira went 3-for-5 with five runs scored and six RBIs to lead Hudson Valley on Sunday.
Second baseman Nick Gonzales went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs to lead Greensboro. Andres Alvarez and Lolo Sanchez hit home runs in the loss for the Hoppers.
Alvarez, who started the game at third base, came on to pitch in a mop-up role in the ninth inning. Hudson Valley hit four home runs including two grand slams in the ninth off reliever Oliver Garcia and infielder-turned-pitcher Alvarez.
Alvarez, who got a standing ovation when he flied out to the warning track in deep left field leading off the bottom of the ninth, has homered in three consecutive games.
- Second baseman Nick Gonzales, the seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft and a player ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Pirates' No. 4 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a home run and a double Sunday. Gonzales was the High-A East's player of the month in August. He went on the injured list with a broken finger in May, and he was batting just .214 on July 15. In the 41 games since then, Gonzales has raised his batting average to .303 by hitting .361 (64-for-177) with 14 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs and 40 RBIs.
- The Hoppers have won or split 17 of their 18 six-game series this season. Since splitting their first five series of the season, the Grasshoppers are 54-24 (.792 win percentage).
- Shortstop Liover Peguero, the Pirates' No. 5 prospect, sat out Sunday's game. Peguero hasn't played since leaving Friday night's game after apparently twisting an ankle on the first-base bag. Alvarez started at shortstop Saturday and third base Sunday, batting in the lead-off spot both days.
- Third baseman Jared Triolo leads the High-A East with 114 hits, and he ranks second with 73 RBIs and third with a .302 batting average. Triolo was batting just .217 on June 2, but in 75 games since then he has batted .327 with 21 doubles, 12 home runs, 58 RBIs and 23 stolen bases.
- In his last nine games, catcher/DH Blake Sabol is 12-for-37 (.324) with two home runs, two doubles, eight runs scored and seven RBIs.
- 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 15 games since then, Davis is 15-for-43 (.349) with six home runs, three doubles, nine walks and 15 RBIs.
- Left fielder Lolo Sanchez leads the league with 29 stolen bases and ranks second with 51 walks. In his last 22 games, Sanchez has batted .333 (27-for-81) with 20 runs scored.
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.