Preview: Hoppers Look to Bounce Back
GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS, 4-2 (38-37) - MIA
vs. DELMARVA SHOREBIRDS, 4-3 (36-32) - BAL
Thursday - 7:00 p.m.
First National Bank Field - Greensboro, N.C.
Game #76 of 138
RH Brandon Miller (2-6, 5.59) vs. RH Brenan Hanifee (6-3, 2.61)
Today's Preview: The Grasshoppers (A, Marlins) look to bounce back after suffered an 18-run defeat in Wednesday's 20-2 loss to the Shorebirds (A, Orioles) with Game 2 of this 3-game series. The blowout came almost 10 years to the day since the last time Greensboro allowed 20 runs in a game. Greensboro is sending Brandon Miller to the mound against Delmarva's Brenan Hanifee in today's pitching match-up of right-handers. The Grasshoppers are tied for second in the Northern Division Second Half, sitting 1.0 game back of 5-1 West Virginia.
Hoppers Hurler: Brandon Miller, 22, makes his 15th start of the season and first against the Shorebirds this season. He is coming off a no decision on June 21 at Hagerstown, working 5.2 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits. Miller has fanned six or more batters in four of his last six starts, including a season-high eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings on May 29 at Lakewood. In two starts against Delmarva in 2017, Miller went 0-0 with a 16.19 ERA (12 ER/6.2 IP) and six strikeouts in two starts. His last win came June 3 vs. West Virginia, striking out seven while limiting the Power to a run on three hits over 6.0 innings. Miller ended 2017 with Greensboro after joining the Marlins organization as part of a mid-season trade from the Mariners in a July 20, 2017, deal that sent RHP David Phelps to Seattle in exchange for Miller, outfielder Brayan Hernandez, RHP Lukas Schiraldi, and RHP Pablo Lopez. In five starts for Greensboro in 2017, Miller went 0-3 with a 8.86 ERA, finishing his 2017 season 9-7 and 4.56 ERA (71 ER/122.1 IP) and 106 strikeouts in 23 games (23 starts) between Clinton and Greensboro. The Mariners drafted Miller in the sixth round of the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
About Last Night: The Shorebirds ran away from the Grasshoppers in a 20-2 blowout on Wednesday. Delmarva scored in six different innings, including an 8-run seventh, while out-hitting Greensboro 22-6. The Shorebirds set the tone early when Kirvin Moesquit led off the game with a home run (4) to left field as part of a 3-run first inning. The Grasshoppers appeared to be up for the fight in the second inning before a twice-reversed call went against Greensboro. Will Allen led off the bottom of the second by a drive to right field that stopped underneath the pad of the outfield wall. Delmarva right-fielder Will Robertson refused to play the ball, throwing his hands up calling for time from base umpire Harley Acosta, who appeared to grant time while Allen rounded the bases. When Acosta removed the ball without ostensible effort from the base of the wall, Allen was awarded a home run. Shorebirds manager Buck Britton protested the call, and after umpires conferred, the call was reversed again, with Allen have to return to second base with a ground rule double. Despite Allen eventually scoring on a Marcos Rivera sacrifice fly, the Hoppers offense failed to recover as the Shorebirds piled on in the ensuring innings. Delmarva scored three in the third, four in the fourth, and one in the fifth before matching that entire total with an 8-run seventh inning. Robertson paced the Shorebirds offense with a 5-hit game, finishing 5-for-6 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored. Delmarva's Cameron Bishop (7-4) earned the win with 6.0 innings of work, allowing a run on three hits while walking two and striking out three. Scott Sebald (0-1) took the loss in his Class A debut, allowing six runs on seven hits over 3.0 innings.
Record Runs: Wednesday night's run total matched the Grasshoppers' franchise record for runs allowed when Greensboro gave up 20 runs for the second time since the team's inaugural 2005 season. The only other 20-run game for a Hoppers opponent came nearly 10 years ago to the day, on June 28, 2008, in a 20-6 loss to Kannapolis. That night, Greensboro allowed 23 hits, one more than Wednesday's 22-hit night by Delmarva.
New Season-High Watermarks: In the process of Wednesday's 20-2 loss, Delmarva set or tied 11 season high marks for offense against Greensboro, including the following:
Category Thursday vs. Delmarva Previous Mark/Last Accomplished
Most Runs, Game: 20 14, 5/9 at ASH
Most Runs, Inning: 8 (7th) 8, 5/4 vs. GVL (5th)
Most Hits, Game: 22 16, 5/3 vs. HAG
Most HR, Game: 4 4, 4/28 at ASH
Most Doubles, Game: 6 3, 5x, last: 5/30 at LWD
Most Triples, Game: 1 1, 13x, last: 6/25 vs. KAN
Most Innings with a run: 6 5, 4/28 at ASH
Most HR, Game (Indiv.): 2, Trevor Craport, 2, 2x, last: Chad Spanberger, 5/9 at ASH
Most Triples, Game (Indiv): 1, Mason McCoy 1, 13x, last: Craig Dedelow, 6/25 vs. KAN
Most Hits, Game (Indiv.): 5, Will Robertson 4, 6x, last: Ryan Dorow, 6/11 vs. HIC
Largest Margin of Defeat: 18 8, 5/6 vs. GVL
Off On The Wrong Foot: Wednesday's loss began with Greensboro giving up a home run to the first batter of the game for the second time this season. Delmarva's Kirvin Moesquit set the tone early when he launched Scott Sebald's third pitch over the left field wall. On April 9, Augusta's Malique Ziegler hit the first pitch of the game by Taylor Braley out of the park.
Give Me Five: Delmarva's Will Robertson became the first Grasshopper opponent to collect five hits in a game this season and first since August 24, 2017, when Kannapolis' Jake Burger went 5-for-5, hitting for the cycle and driving in three runs.
Making Moves: Greensboro made a bevy of roster moves prior to Wednesday's game with four new faces coming in while four others earned promotions. Chris Reed was promoted to Double-A Jacksonville as pitchers Ryan Lillie and Dustin Beggs joined first baseman Lazaro Alonso in heading to A-Advanced Jupiter. In corresponding moves, Greensboro received LHP Sean Guenther and OF Harrison Dinicola from Jupiter, LHP Daniel Castano from the GCL Marlins, and RHP Jeremy Ovalle from Batavia.
ERA on the Rise: With 20 runs (19 earned) allowed in Wednesday's loss to Delmarva, Greensboro's team ERA rose from 3.83 to 4.04. The Grasshoppers now own the ninth-lowest ERA in the 14-team South Atlantic League. Lakewood, which plays in pitcher-friendly FirstEnergy Park, owns the league's lowest ERA at 2.60 while Asheville, which plays in the hitters haven of McCormick Field sits at the other end of the spectrum with a 4.98 ERA.
So Much Soto: Isael Soto is currently on a 14-game on-base streak, the longest active streak by a player on the Hoppers roster. He has hit safely in nine of his last 14 games, dating back to June 12, and he has drawn six walks in that span. Soto smacked a 2-run triple on Monday night, his seventh extra-base hit since June 12 (three 2B, one 3B, three HR). With his 4-RBI game last Thursday, Soto posted his most RBI in a game this season while tying his career-high. His last 4-RBI game came during his debut season when he went 2-for-4 with a home run on July 19, 2014, with the GCL Marlins at the GCL Nationals. Both of his 4-RBI games have come against Nationals affiliates.
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