Rivera, Soto Homer in Loss to Tourists
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Marcos Rivera and Isael Soto launched a pair of home runs but the Grasshoppers fell short in a 6-4 loss to the Asheville Tourists on Saturday at First National Bank Field. Greensboro (21-24 Second Half, 55-59 Overall) dropped its fourth straight game.
Asheville jumped in front early with three runs in the top of the second inning, chasing Greensboro starting pitcher Trevor Rogers from the game after 1 and 2/3 innings. Rogers, who struck out the side while working around a single and a walk in the top of the first, fanned the first two batters of the second before getting into trouble.
Nick Kennedy (3-12) earned the win for Asheville, working 5.0 innings and allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Tommy Doyle notched the save (12) with a clean ninth inning. Rogers (1-5) suffered the loss, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out five batters as the Hoppers pitching staff tallied 12 strikeouts on the night, one shy of the team's season high.
Ramon Marcelino led off the second inning by reaching base on a strikeout-wild pitch. Two batters later, Nic Motley, Tyler Bugner, and Matt Hearns hit three straight singles to put the Tourists on the board, 1-0, while loading the bases. Ryan Vilade then drew a walk to push another run across the board, and Sean Bouchard added a sacrifice fly to cap the 3-run frame while chasing Rogers from the game.
Rivera belted a 1-out home run (12) to put the Hoppers on the board, but Marcelino led off the top of the third with a home run (21) of his own to push the Tourists lead back to three, 4-1. In the home half of the third, Chris Torres walked and scored one batter later when Soto tripled off the wall in center field.
Greensboro pulled within a run in the fifth inning after Asheville grew its lead, 5-2, in the top of the frame. With Torres on base, Soto stepped to the plate and cranked a 2-run home run (9) over the right field wall to cut the Tourists' lead to 5-4.
Casey Golden, from nearby Siler City, N.C., extended Asheville's lead in the top of the ninth with his team-leading 27th home run of the season, second most in the South Atlantic League.
The Grasshoppers and Tourists continue this series on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. on a Novant Family Sunday featuring pre-game catch on the field (3-3:30 p.m.) and post-game kids run the bases. Gates open at 3:00 p.m., and tickets are available online at gsohoppers.com.
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