The Hoptown Hoppers (26-17) extended their playoff run with a 9-8 win over the visiting Muhlenberg County Stallions (17-26) at Tiger Field on Sunday night. Jake Larson (2-1) started on the mound for the Hoppers and earned the win going 5 2/3 innings, giving up 7 runs, 5 of them earned on 10 hits with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. Camron Harper (1-3) got the start for the Stallions and earned the loss pitching 4 innings giving up 5 runs, 4 of them earned on 6 hits with no walks and 2 strikeouts.
Both starting pitchers were effective through the first 3 ½ innings until the Hoppers struck first with one run in the bottom of the 4th. Reese Alexiades started the inning with a one out single and was driven in with a two out RBI double by Nolen Milton.
The Stallions responded with 2 runs in the top of the 5th inning that started with lead off singles by Tyler Burns and Johann Espejo. A throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Siegel allowed Burns to score. Espejo later scored on an RBI single by Jacob Morris.
Hoptown put up a huge number in the bottom of the 5th inning scoring 8 runs on 5 hits. Dalton Dedas led off the inning with a base hit followed by Aiden Elias who reached on an error by the pitcher. Aharon Modlin was then hit by a pitch loading up the bases for the Hoppers. With a base hit by Zach Duvall, Dedas and Elias scored. Taylor Fought was put on base after being hit by a pitch loading the bases again and Alexiades had an RBI base hit. The Stallions then walked in a run making the score 5-2. With the bases still loaded, Milton blasted a shot over the left field wall for a grand slam extending the Hopper lead to 9-2.
Muhlenberg didn’t let up on the Hoppers, scoring 5 runs in the top of the 6th inning. The inning started with a lead off solo home run by Ian Walters. The next two batters reached safely with a single by Alfred Cruz and a walk by Mike Brown. With one out, Espejo singled to load the bases. Siegel then doubled to drive in 2 runs. Another double by Morris drove in the remaining 2 runs for the Stallions. Jesse Philp came in to pitch for the Hoppers and ended the scoring run by the Stallions.
The Stallions pulled within one run in the top of the 7th inning. Cruz, who went 4 for 4 on the night with one walk, led off with a base hit and would advance to 3rd base on a throwing error by Zach Duvall. Cruz then scored on a sacrifice fly by Burns making the score 9-8.
Jesse Philp finished the game for the Hoppers pitching 3 1/3 innings giving up one unearned run on 2 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts earning his 6th save of the season.
The Hoppers host the Henderson Flash tomorrow night for game 1 of the semifinals with a 7:05 start.
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