If only the visiting Hops could have wrapped up the game before the sixth inning or maybe just skipped over it. The game was tight but in control. But, one bad half inning filled with a couple of mistakes erased the hard work the Hops put together elsewhere in the game. The Hillsboro Hops gave the first game of the three game series away to the Eugene Emeralds 3-2. Now, the Ems have a chance to wrap it up in the next game Thursday night.
Ems Pass Hops
The fateful night was defined when center fielder Fernando Kelli singled home second baseman and teammate, Levi Jordan, home all the way from second to tie the game. Caleb Knight hit an infield single to move Kelli over to second. All of this with two outs already on the scoreboard.
Then the game broke down. Pitcher Ryan Weiss, who came to the mound to start the sixth threw a wild pitch moving Fernando Kelli to third. What followed was the icing on the cake. Keeping an eye on the runners at the corners, Ryan Weiss balked bringing Kelli, the go ahead run, home. Shortly after, Luis Vazquez flew out to left fielder Jorge Perez to end the inning but it was too late. Kelli’s score proved to be the game winner.
Key Hits Start Early
The game started with key hits by the Hops to take early control. Catcher Andy Yerzy crushed a solo homer to right to lead off the second. Jorge Perez led off the third with a walk and then scooted all the way home on a Geraldo Perdomo triple. But, it ended there. There were only three more hits the rest of the game. Francis Martinez doubled in the fourth. Andy Yerzy doubled in the sixth for his second hit of the night. And Jake McCarthy singled in the seventh. Joey Rose also doubled right after Andy Yerzy’s homer but was stranded at third.
Matt Tabor started the game and lasted five innings on one run ball with four hits. Tabor left the mound with a 2-0 lead. Cristofer Ogando pitched the seventh and eighth blanking the Ems on three hits. Tabor, Weiss and Ogando only struck out three batters on the night but they were able to keep it close by inducing fly outs and ground outs with ease. The three hurlers threw 136 pitches on the night. 94 of them were for strikes.
For the Ems, Peyton Remy (W, 1-0) gets the win and Ivan Medina (S, 1) earned the save. Ryan Weiss (0-1) gets the loss.
Ems Take 1-0 Lead
The home town Emeralds opened the first round of the playoffs just like they did the year before – by beating the Hops. Last year, the Hops won both the first and second half of the season. Eugene was selected as their first round opponent since they had the second best overall record of the rest of the Southern Division. This year, there was one change in the formula but it still ended up with Eugene hosting the first game of the first round with the Hops.
The change was a simple one. Instead of electing the team with the second best over-all record to make the playoffs, this year selected the second best record of the second half only. The reasons are very mathematically based and at least a little convoluted. Suffice it to say that when you decide a second playoff team based on both full season and second half criteria of the season, you open the door for the numbers to not work well with each other. It is still not perfect but now, that potential glitch is gone.
Both teams meet again Thursday night for game two of the first round. The Ems have a chance to eliminate the Hops with another win.