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Hickman provides power for Hoppers


By Brian Joura

Special to the News & Record

Thursday, Apr. 10, 2008 3:00 am


GREENSBORO -- The Grasshoppers went into Wednesday night with just one home run in six games.


But Tom Hickman hit two homers for the night, the second a three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth inning that lifted Greensboro to a 5-4 victory over the Hickory Crawdads at NewBridge Bank Park.


Bryan Petersen, who reached base safely in all four plate appearances, opened the eighth inning with a single. It appeared that the Hoppers had a nice rally going when Ryan Anetsberger got hit by a pitch. But the home plate umpire ruled that Anetsberger moved his elbow into the pitch, a slow breaking ball, and made him come back to the plate.


Anetsberger ended up striking out, but Torre Langley singled, bringing Hickman to the plate.


"He has a nice, easy, swing," Hoppers manager Edwin Rodriguez said of Hickman. "Very effortless swing, easy power. He has that kind of swing. In the eighth inning facing a pitcher with a good fastball -- those kind of pitchers Hickman hits well. I saw the catcher moving in, I said he has a pretty good chance to hit one out. He took advantage of that."


Hickman, who hit a solo homer in the second inning to give Greensboro a 1-0 lead, hit a moon shot to right that the crowd recognized as being gone as soon as he hit it.


With a one-run lead heading into the ninth inning, Rodriguez brought Garrett Parcell in to close the game. Rodriguez had been using a bullpen-by-committee. The Hoppers entered the game with three saves by three different pitchers.


Parcell overmatched the first three hitters, but Matt Cavagnaro, the ninth-place hitter, reached first base after striking out on a wild pitch.


But Parcell fanned Jose De Los Santos to end any thought of a comeback and earned his second save of the year.


"Parcell has a great arm," Rodriguez said. "Not only does he throw hard, he has a very good slider. Every time he gets ahead in the count he does what he did today. He has a very good chance to be successful and be our closer."


Reliever Corey Maddon picked up the victory despite allowing a game-tying solo home run. He struck out the first four batters he faced and was cruising before allowing the blow to cleanup hitter Erik Huber.


But it only set the stage for Hickman's dramatics.


Hickman picked up the slack for the absent Michael Stanton, the Hoppers' leading hitter and the only Greensboro player to homer entering the game. Rodriguez said Stanton complained about his vision following Tuesday's game and saw an eye doctor, who administered drops to both eyes.

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