Basepath Bonanza: Hoppers Run Past I's
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Grasshoppers turned the basepaths into their personal playground in a 6-2 win over the Intimidators on Wednesday night at First National Bank Field. Greensboro (44-44, 10-9 Second Half) drew a season-high 10 walks and stolen a season-best seven bases while scoring six unanswered runs to beat Kannapolis in the first game of a 3-game series.
In addition to running wild on the basepaths, the Hoppers controled the Intimidators by matching their season-high with four double plays, including one to end the game.
Hoppers starting pitcher Edward Cabrera (4-6) struck out seven batters over 5.0 innings, working around two runs on six hits and a walk to earn the win. Relievers Ryan McKay, Gabriel Castellanos, and Jeremy Ovalle combined for 4.0 scoreless innings to close the game with Ovalle earning the save (1).
Intimidators starter Zach Lewis (2-3) walked seven batters, the most by an individual pitcher against the Grasshoppers in 2018, over 4 and 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out three while taking the loss.
Kannapolis built a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Tate Blackman belted a 2-run home run (10) to center field.
Two innings later, Greensboro got even. In the home half of the third, Michael Hernandez led off the frame with a double, and Thomas Jones drew a 1-out walk to put men on the corners. Jose Devers followed with an RBI-single to cash Hernandez, but Kannapolis right-fielder Tyler Frost threw out Jones trying to go first-to-third on the play. Tristan Pompey walked to bump Devers into scoring position, and Isael Soto tied the game, 2-2, with a run-scoring single through the right side of the diamond.
The Grasshoppers broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning, taking advantage of an Intimidators error to plate to go-ahead run. With runners on the corners and two outs, Thomas grounded a ball up the third base line where Johan Cruz misplayed the chance, allowing Ricardo Cespedes to score for a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Greensboro added to its lead with a pair of runs when Soto laced a 2-run single to center field, scoring Garvis Lara and Jones for a 5-2 lead. The Hoppers drew a season-high 10 walks, including seven off Lewis. Greensboro also stole a season-high seven bases as six different Grasshoppers swiped a base.
The Grasshoppers and Intimidators play Game 2 of this 3-game series on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at First National Bank Field. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. on a Thirsty Thursday presented by Natty Greene's and 107.5 KZL, and tickets are available online at gsohoppers.com.
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