By Jerry Del Priore
Pitcher Zac Grotz made his acquisition from the independent York Revolution look like a good move for the New York Mets.
He tossed 7.2 impressive frames in the Single-A South Atlantic League (SAL) Columbia Fireflies’ 3-2 loss to the Hagerstown Suns (Nationals) in 10 innings, his first start in affiliated ball in 2018, Friday night at Municipal Stadium.
Grotz, 25, surrendered two runs on eight hits while striking out eight hitters without permitting a base on balls. He didn’t figure in the decision, however. Arron Ford (2-1) took the defeat after allowing the winning run to score on a safety squeeze in the bottom of the tenth.
Columbia (33-32) first baseman Jeremy Vasquez had a RBI single in the top of the first, while shortstop Hansel Moreno added a RBI base hit of his own, to account for the Fireflies’ two scores.
The right-handed Grotz was 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA, which ranked fifth in the Atlantic League, in his first seven appearances (four starts) with York in 2018.
In addition, he allowed 24 hits in 32 innings for a .207 opponents’ average and had issued 10 free passes while striking out 33.
The Revolution acquired Grotz after pitching in relief for the now-defunct Bridgeport Bluefish in 2017, posting a 4-3 record with a 3.77 ERA and a pair of saves in a league-high-tying 67 appearances. His 80 strikeouts led all Atlantic League relievers.
The Houston Astros originally drafted the San Mateo, California, native in the 28th-round draft of the 2015 MLB amateur draft out of Embry-Riddle University and also pitched in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2016 after the Dodgers purchased his contract from the independent Frontier League.
Grotz sports a pro career 19-9 mark with a 2.62 ERA and 18 saves in 127 appearances (seven starts), not including his Friday night outing.