Renegades Beat Hoppers 3-2 to Even Series
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. â Anthony Volpe and Jake Sanford hit solo home runs and Hudson Valley scored an unearned run on an errant pickoff throw, as the Renegades defeated the Greensboro Grasshoppers 3-2 at Dutchess Stadium on Friday night.
One night after clinching a spot in the High-A East championship series, the Grasshoppers rested five of their regular starters.
The second-seeded Hoppers (73-45) will host the top-seeded Bowling Green Hot Rods (81-36) in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five championship series on Tuesday and Wednesday at First National Bank Field in Greensboro. Thursday is a travel day to Bowling Green, which hosts Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) Sept. 24-26.
The Hot Rods and Hoppers finished first and second in the South Division, but the two teams with the best records in the entire 12-team league â regardless of division â earned playoff berths.
Greensboro eliminated North Division champ Hudson Valley (70-48) by winning two games in this season-ending series, which is knotted 2-2 heading into the weekend. The Grasshoppers are playing their 20th six-game series of the season and have won or split 17 of them.
Backup catcher Eli Wilson went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored to lead the Hoppers on Friday. Aaron Shackelford was 1-for-4 with a double.
Liover Peguero and Mike Jarvis had singles to account for Greensboro's other two hits.
Josh Maciejewski (9-4, 4.10 ERA) struck out seven in 6 2/3 strong innings to get the win for Hudson Valley.
Valentin Linarez (0-2, 5.00 ERA) took the loss for Greensboro despite allowing just two runs. Linarez was making just his second appearance for the Hoppers since being promoted from the Rookie-level Florida Complex League on Sept. 10.
The Renegades scored what proved to be the winning run off reliever Michell Miliano on a wild pickoff throw in the seventh inning.
The Grasshoppers rested third baseman Jared Triolo, catcher Blake Sabol, first baseman/DH Will Matthiessen and outfielders Matt Gorski and Lolo Sanchez on Friday.
Bowling Green and Greensboro have played two series this season. The Hoppers are 5-7 in head-to-head games against the Hot Rods.
Greensboro is 37-21 in road games this season, the fewest road losses of any team in the High-A East. Hudson Valley is 38-20 at home.
Greensboro is 21-12 this season against teams that are .500 or above. Hudson Valley, which has played the weakest schedule in the league, is just 3-7 against .500-or-better teams (all 10 of those games against the Hoppers).
Second baseman Nick Gonzales went 0-for-3 Friday. The seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft and a player ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Pirates' No. 4 prospect, Gonzales was the High-A East's player of the month in August. Gonzales got off to a slow start when he went on the injured list with a broken finger in May, and he was batting just .214 on July 15. In his 49 games since then, Gonzales has raised his batting average to .299 by hitting .348 (71-for-204) with 16 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs and 42 RBIs.
Hoppers players rank first, second and fourth in the race for the High-A East batting title. Matt Fraizer batted .314 in 75 games before being promoted to Class-AA Altoona (where he has hit .277 in 34 games). Jared Triolo is second at .303, and Nick Gonzales is fourth at .299.
In his career at the News & Record, journalist Jeff Mills won 10 national and 12 state writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, the Society for Features Journalism, and the N.C. Press Association.
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