'Birds Piece Together Another Series Win
SALISBURY, MD - The Delmarva Shorebirds wrapped up another series win in workmanlike fashion, powering down the Greensboro Grasshoppers 4-1 on Thursday night at First National Bank Field.
Gray Fenter (3-1) battled to his first win as a starter this season for the Shorebirds (29-8), allowing one run on five hits in five innings with three walks and three strikeouts. Nicholas Economos (4-2) took the loss for the Grasshoppers (24-14), surrendering two runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings with one walk and 11 strikeouts, a season high for a Delmarva opposing starting pitcher. Zach Matson was lights out over the final four innings for his second save, striking out nine.
Greensboro wasted no time getting going as back-to-back singles by Lolo Sanchez and Jonah Davis put men on the corners with nobody out in the third. Sanchez broke for home on a wild pitch to put the Grasshoppers up 1-0. After a groundout and a hit batsman put men on the corners again, Rodolfo Castro tried to get in an intentional rundown between first and second, but the Shorebirds got wise and threw Davis out of the plate. Fenter buckled down to strike out Grant Koch and escape with minimal damage.
Adam Hall legged out an infield single to lead off the top of the fourth and took second on a botched pickoff. Three batters later, Ben Breazeale looped a single into right, scoring Hall to tie it at 1-1.
The Grasshoppers ran themselves out of another run in the bottom of the fourth. With men on first and second and two out, Kyle Mottice hit a grounder to the left side that Jean Carlos Encarnacion pounced on from third. Encarnacion's throw to second for the force was late, and Patrick Dorrian broke for the plate on the throw, but Cadyn Grenier rifled to the plate and retired Dorrian, snuffing out the threat.
In the fifth, Daniel Fajardo led off with a single, and Nick Horvath walked two batters later. Robbie Thorburn then chipped one into left center for a single, scoring Fajardo to put the Shorebirds up 2-1.
Delmarva added insurance in the eighth. Hall singled to lead off, stole second, and went to third on a Grenier single. Doran Turchin then hit a perfect Baltimore chop over the mound and to short for an RBI groundout. Breazeale followed with a double to the wall in left, plating Grenier to push the lead to 4-1.
The run support was more than enough for Matson, who had his most devastating curveball of the season working from the get-go. He struck out the side in the sixth and eighth, retiring 11 in a row until Fabricio Macias singled with two out in the ninth. Matson shook it off, though, and got Brett Kinneman on a hook for his game-ending ninth strikeout, the most for a Shorebird reliever this season.
Breazeale paced the Shorebird attack, going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Hall finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and his 12th stolen base. Fajardo went 2-for-4 with a run.
Sanchez scored the Grasshoppers' only run and Greensboro could only manage six scattered singles down their lineup.
The win was Delmarva's 10th in their last 11 road games dating back to April 30. All three wins in the four-game series came by three runs or fewer; 24 of the Shorebirds' 29 wins have come by one, two, or three runs.
The win moves the Shorebirds' lead over Greensboro to 5.5 games in the Northern Division standings. Second-place Hickory won at Greenville to stay four games back, while fourth-place West Virginia lost at Charleston to fall 10 games back in fourth place.
The Shorebirds begin the second leg of their road marathon with a five-game, four-day set at Kannapolis on Friday night. Drew Rom (2-0, 2.05) toes the rubber for Delmarva against the Intimidators' Johan Dominguez (0-2, 3.46). First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:45 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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South Atlantic League Stories from May 16, 2019
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