Early Smash Propels 'Hoppers Past Shorebirds
GREENSBORO, NC - A four-run second set the tone for the Greensboro Grasshoppers, who withstood a pair of Delmarva Shorebirds rallys on the way to a 7-4 win on Thursday night in front of nearly 7,000 fans at First National Bank Field.
Dustin Beggs (3-3) took advantage of the high run output, allowing four runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings for the win. He walked none and struck out five. Zach Muckenhirn (1-4) took the loss after an up-and-down six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. Kyle Keller earned his sixth save on the year with a scoreless ninth.
The Shorebirds (16-22) went up early as Jake Ring hit a bad-hop grounder over first for a one-out single in the first inning. Chris Clare then shot a hit-and-run single past second to move Ring up to first. Collin Woody's single up the middle brought Ring home and made it 1-0 for the visitors.
The Grasshoppers (22-17) would strike back in a fury in the bottom of the second. Eric Gutierrez led off with a single, and Boo Vasquez walked. Jarret Rindfleisch then hit a line drive single to left to bring home the tying run. On the very next pitch, Justin Twine unleashed a bomb to left center field. The three-run homer was his first of the season and put the home side on top 4-1.
Jake Ring cracked a solo home run to left center, his seventh of the year, in the third inning to get a run back for Delmarva. Greensboro reinforced the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a Luis Pintor single and Walker Olis double, going up 5-2.
Delmarva strung together a two-out rally in the sixth inning. Frank Crinella lined a base hit to left center, extending his own hitting streak to seven games. Preston Palmeiro followed with a soft liner down the left field line for a double, scoring Crinella. Daniel Fajardo then slashed a single up the middle, plating Palmeiro and getting the Shorebirds within 5-4.
Greensboro responded with two of their own in the bottom of the seventh to seal the deal. Pintor led off with a walk, and Aaron Knapp hit an RBI double to the left field corner. Knapp would steal his way to third to draw the infield in, and two batters later James Nelson grounded a single up the middle to bring in Knapp and give the game its final margin.
Ring finished 2-for-2 with the home run and two runs scored for the Shorebirds. He left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning after taking a pitch off the right knee in the top of the frame.
Palmeiro went 2-for-3 with a double, run, and RBI. Clare and Fajardo each had two-hit games.
Twine finished 2-for-4 with the home run and three driven in for the Grasshoppers. Gutierrez went 2-for-4 with a run.
Sam Perez and Chad Smith each earned holds for Greensboro out of the bullpen.
Delmarva is now 0-6 in series-opening games on the road (3-9 overall).
The Shorebirds and Grasshoppers play game two on Friday night with Matthias Dietz (0-3, 6.54) squaring off against Dylan Lee (2-3, 4.37). First pitch is 7:00 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports AM 960 and the MiLB First Pitch app begins at 6:45 p.m. with Will DeBoer on the call.
Delmarva Shorebirds ---------------------------- The Delmarva Shorebirds are the Class "A" Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Shorebirds are owned by 7th Inning Stretch, LLC, the same company that owns the Stockton Ports of the California League and the Everett AquaSox of the Northwest League.
The Shorebirds are celebrating their 22nd season in 2017 and have entertained nearly five million fans since beginning play at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland in 1996. The team captured South Atlantic League titles in 1997 and 2000 and successfully hosted the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in 1999 and 2011.
For more information on the Shorebirds, call 410-219-3112 or visit theshorebirds.com.
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