Greensboro’s win over Hickory on the diamond Wednesday was as easy as 1-2-3.
The Grasshoppers (13-13, 53-43) scored one run in the fourth, two in the fifth and three in the sixth on their way to a 9-4 win over the Crawdads (17-9, 57-37).
Hickory first basemen Andrew Clark, the reigning South Atlantic League player of the week, continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-5 in the game to raise his batting average to .307.
Despite retiring the first three Crawdads’ batters in the game, Greensboro pitcher Jheyson Manzueta ran into trouble in the second inning. He walked four batters and allowed one hit.
Due to a great defensive double play, though, from Manzueta to catcher Jacob Realmuto to first basemen Mark Canha allowed the Grasshoppers to get two outs.
Manzueta allowed one run i n the inning after walking Jhonny Gomez with the bases loaded. The Crawdads only scored one run in the second inning despite four walks and one hit.
With runners on second and third in the bottom of the third inning, the Crawdads once again stranded runners for the second straight inning. Hickory finished the game 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
A leadoff double by Greensboro’s Noah Perio allowed the Grasshoppers to get their first hit of the game and get into scoring position. Canha brought Perio home three batters later on a line drive single to right field to tie the game, 1-1.
Hickory shortstop Jurickson Profar broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth inning. A single by Profar with runners on the corners plated Kellin Deglan to give the Crawdads a 2-1 lead.
Catcher Tomas Telis added another run on a ball hit to second basemen Joe Bonadonna that took a weird hop on the turf and flew over his head. That play scored Gomez, increasing the Crawdads’ lead to 3-1.
After another RBI-single from Andrew Clark, the Grasshoppers replaced Manzueta on the mound with relief pitcher Kenneth Toves.
Third basemen Ryan Fisher cut into the Crawdads’ lead in the top of the fifth inning on a solo home run that towered over the right field wall to make it 4-2. Two batters later, Aaron Dudley doubled to bring in Realmuto from first. The Crawdads led by one run, 4-3.
Greensboro scored in its third consecutive inning in the top of the sixth. The ‘Hoppers scored three runs on four hits, including an RBI-double by Realmuto and a RBI-singles by Dudley and James Wooster.
Center fielder Christian Yelich singled with runners on the corners to plate a seventh run for the ‘Hoppers in the inning.
Two more runs scored on a bases loaded single by Fisher to make it a 9-4 Greensboro lead.
Crawdads’ relievers struggled Wednesday, allowing six runs on eight hits and five walks.
Greensboro’s bullpen was the exact opposite, allowing one hit, one walk and striking out four Hickory batters.
After scoring four runs in four innings, the ‘Hoppers bullpen allowed no Hickory runs.
Hickory and Greensboro play the second game of a three-game series on Thursday at L.P. Frans. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Following the completion of that series on Friday, the Crawdads play Delmarva in a four-game series from Saturday to Tuesday before an off day on Wednesday.