Diego Rincones was unmatched as the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes went on to beat the Hillsboro Hops 9-5 at Ron Tonkin Field.. Out of five plate appearances, Diego went 4 for 5, scored once, smacked a home run to go along with two doubles and knocked home five runs. He alone equaled the efforts of the Hops team.
It wasn’t enough though for Diego Rincones to win the game by himself. His teammates would be the gravy on the top. Kevin Rivera went 2 for 5, scoring twice with a triple and an RBI. Chris Corbett went 1 for 2 but scored three times. He managed that neat little trick by also walking twice.
The outfield seemed huge as the gaps between mitts was exploited time and again, splitting the defenders on both sides. In the top of the third, Jose Layer split the gap between center and right for a double. Joey Rose doubled in the third by splitting the gap to left. Dalton Combs doubled by splitting to left in the fourth. Kevin Rivera split the right gap as the next batter. Kevin Lynch gapped a triple to right in the seventh. For the night, both teams doubled seven times, tripled three times and homered twice. Twelve of the 18 hits were for extra bases.
For the night, zeroes were outnumbered on the scoreboard. The Hops scored first but they would spend most of the game playing catch up and ended up crossing the finish line second in a two-man race. 14 of 19 batters would walk away with at least one hit.
Strangely, the Volcanoes drew a dry spot in the fifth and sixth innings that were sandwiched between two doubles by Diego Rincones in the fourth and seventh. In the gap, Volcano batters struck out four times, flew out twice and grounded out twice. No one reached base. The mastery was a credit to Hops pitcher Brian Christian. Wesley Rodriguez shined for the Hillsboro Hops in the ninth where he kept the visiting team hitless on two strike outs.
Adrian Del Morel started for the Hops and did not return after the third inning when he allowed three runs on three hits and the score tied at 4-4. Kai-Wei Lin (L, 1-1) came on for two innings and gave up three runs on three hits for the loss.
Seven Hops batters struck for seven hits and kept it close until the eight. Keyshawn Lynch tripled in the seventh with one out splitting the gap between center and right. The ball reached the fence and Lynch reached third standing up. Lynch soon scored on Dan Swains RBI single through the gap at third and short. That brought the score to 7-5.
The lead doubled one half inning later. Kevin Rivera sliced a grounder up the middle barely making it past a quick-reaching second baseman Lynch. Rivera stole second. Chris Corbett joined his fellow baserunner after a walk. Both runners advanced to scoring position on Jose Layer’s ground out to first.
Then the wheels fell off. Kyle McPhearson lined a hard shot that almost made it past third baseman Jose Caballero but a remarkable stab by the Hops fielder snared the shot before it could go down the line saving a triple. Trying to throw the batter out at first, McPhearson could only toss an off-balance throw that sailed past first baseman Francis Martinez. Both runs scored and McPhearson was standing on third. Now the lead was 9-5.
Greg Jacknewitz (W, 1-1) pitched five innings of middle relief for the win. Orleny Quiroz closed the last two innings limiting the Hops to one hit and striking out four of the eight batters he faced.
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (4-5) into a last-place tie with the Boise Hawks, three games behind the Southern Division leading Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (7-2). Both teams continue with game two of the three game series Sunday afternoon at 4 PM. Salem-Keizer has a five game winning streak on the line.
Hillsboro Hops notes: RHP Jayson McKinley was scheduled to start Sunday for the Hops but was promoted to the Kane County Cougars earlier today. RHP Rafael Pujols will accompany him to the full season class A Cougars.