Preview: Looking to Avoid a Sweep
14-18 Second Half, 48-53 - Miami Marlins
at Lakewood BlueClaws
21-11 Second Half, 62-39 - Philadelphia Phillies
Thursday - 7:05 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park - Lakewood, N.J.
Game #102 of 138
LH Scott Sebald (1-3, 6.86) vs. LH Damon Jones (7-4, 3.10)
Today's Preview: The Grasshoppers (A, Marlins) play to avoid a sweep against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies) in Thursday's series finale. Greensboro dropped the first three games of this 4-game set and today throws lefty Scott Sebald against Lakewood's southpaw Damon Jones. With July drawing to a close, the Hoppers have slipped to 7.0 games back of the first place BlueClaws, tied with West Virginia for fifth in the South Atlantic League Northern Division Second Half.
Hoppers Hurlers: Scott Sebald, 24, makes fifth start and seventh appearance with the Grasshoppers in 2018 as he faces Lakewood for the first time. He is coming off a pair of scoreless relief appearances on this 8-game road trip, tossing 2.0 innings at Delmarva on July 19 and another frame against Delmarva on July 22 - his first two scoreless outings this season. Sebald started his first four games with the Grasshoppers, going 0-3 with a 8.10 ERA (15 ER/16.2 IP) and 12 strikeouts in four starts. The left-hander played his 2016 season in the Rangers organization before spending a year in Independent ball. Sebald took the loss in his Hoppers debut on June 27 against Delmarva, allowing six runs on seven hits over 3.0 innings. He made one relief appearance with the GCL Marlins - working 4.1 innings and allowing a run on two hits with five strikeouts and no walks on June 21 against the GCL Astros - since signing with the Marlins on June 1 as a free agent. Sebald began his professional career in 2016 when he signed with the Texas Rangers and split the season between the AZL Rangers and Short-Season Spokane, going 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA (9 ER/31.0 IP) and 34 strikeouts in 14 games (three starts). He spent 2017 playing with the independent Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League as well as two appearances with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League. Between the two teams, he went 9-3 with a 3.18 ERA (42 ER/119.0 IP) and 97 strikeouts in 24 games (17 starts).
Last Time Out: Tristan Pompey homered in the seventh to help Greensboro build its lead, but Lakewood rallied with four runs in home half of that inning to hand the Grasshoppers a 7-5 loss on Wednesday at FirstEnergy Park. Greensboro took a 5-3 lead at the seventh inning stretch before falling to Lakewood for the third straight day. BlueClaws starter Spencer Howard struck out 10 batters over 5.1 innings before reliever Luis Cedeno (1-2) gave up a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh innings for a blown save, only to earn the win after Lakewood rallied. Connor Brogdon tossed scoreless eighth and ninth innings for the save (3). Colton Hock (9-4) took the loss in a career-long outing, working 6 and 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking none. Reliever Jeremy Ovalle, who was also charged with a blown save, allowed a run on three hits in 1 and 2/3 innings to close the game. Isael Soto led the Grasshoppers offense with three RBI, going 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. He belted a 2-run double in the sixth before scoring on a Michael Hernandez base hit as Greensboro put up a 3-run frame to pull ahead, 4-3. Pompey homered (2) one inning later to grow the lead before Lakewood began its rally. The BlueClaws sent a hit-parade to the plate as five of the first six batters hit safely to open the inning. Nick Maton, Matt Vierling, and Daniel Brito all singled to load the bases, and Quincy Nieporte followed with a sac-fly to tie the game, ending the afternoon for Hock. Gregori Rivera welcomed Ovalle to the mound with a 2-run double, and Josh Stephen added an RBI-single to cap the big inning.
Power of Pompey: Outfielder Tristan Pompey homered for the second time in three games with bombs on July 23 and July 25 at pitcher-friendly Lakewood. He is batting .277 (18-65) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI, seven runs scored, and three stolen bases during his 17 games since joining Greensboro on July 7. He has hit safely in 12 of his games while reaching base safely in 14 of his 17 games with the Grasshoppers. The Marlins selected Pompey in the third round of the June 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Kentucky, making him the first member of the 2018 draft class to reach Class A Greensboro.
Serving Up Ks: BlueClaws starter Spencer Howard fanned 10 batters on Wednesday, the most recent opposing pitcher with double-digit strikeouts against the Grasshoppers since July 9 when Lexington's Carlos Hernandez fanned 12 in 7.0 innings at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. There have now been for individual pitchers to fan double-digit batters against Greensboro in 2018.
July 25 at Lakewood / Spencer Howard: 10 K / 5.1 IP
July 9 at Lexington / Carlos Hernandez: 12 K / 7.0 IP
July 7 at Lexington / Andres Sotillet: 10 K / 9.0 IP
May 30 at Lakewood / Will Stewart: 10 K / 9.0 IP
Staring Down a Sweep: Greensboro is trying to avoid being swept in a 4-game series for the first time this season. The Grasshoppers were last swept May 9-11 at Asheville in a 3-game set. The Hoppers have been swept just one other time this season, April 9-11 vs. Augusta.
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