The story did not change for the third game in a row. The Hillsboro Hops left 13 runners on base and batted 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position (RISP). Eugene swept the visiting team 8-3 while the Hops chances slipped through their fingers throughout the game.
In the second inning, Hillsboro managed to get runners on first and second with one out. The runners had front row seats to watch the next two batters strike out. Inning after inning, the Hops would get one runner on base if not two only to see them fade away with the lost opportunity.
The Hops did manage to score in a couple of different innings but they continually found themselves behind the Emeralds and the lead just out of reach. Their first score came in the third when Paxton De La Garza’s RBI single scored Connor Owings to tie the game. Right after that, the Emeralds blew five runs past the Hops pitching and they never looked back.
Hillsboro had some excitement in the seventh. Yan Sanchez and Camden Duzenack had back to back singles. Paxton De La Garza walked to load the bases with one out. Pavin Smith stepped to the plate and grounded a fielder’s choice to second that was almost a double play. Sanchez scored on the play and Duzenack came home on the throwing error to first. That brought the road team to within 7-3 but that was the last gasp. Eugene scored one last run in the seventh for the final score.
Seven hits and eight walks gave the Hops plenty of chances but they undermined their efforts with 13 strikeouts. Emerald Elvis Diaz (W, 2-0) was the pitcher of record for the win.
There were plenty of Emerald bats to go around led by Aramis Ademan. The short stop went 3 for 4 with a double, scored once and had four RBI.
Michael Aker (L, 0-3) started for the Hops but was chased after three for the loss. Aker allowed six runs on five hits and two walks. The team effort of Aker, Kevin Ginkel, Matt Peacock and Cal Becker struck out eleven Emerald batters while only walking three.
The three-game sweep left the Hillsboro Hops (6-8) in third place, three games behind the Eugene Emeralds (9-5) who lead the division. The Hops come home Thursday to host the Everett Aquasox for five games. Ron Tonkin Field will present the annual 4th of July fireworks a day early after the final game on the 3rd. The Hops will be on the road for the 4th. Eugene will travel to the Vancouver Canadians for a five-game series of their own.
Hops notes: The Hops announced that they will sign local Beaverton High School player Kevin Watson, Jr. to a pro contract on Thursday. Watson was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 18th round. The Hops will host a press conference and contract signing on Thursday.
Kevin Watson played three years of varsity baseball for Beaverton High. He batted .327 and amassed 23 RBI and scored 41 times. He was rated the 7th best prospect in the state overall.
Anfernee Benitez returns to the Hillsboro Hops from the Reno Aces after a short visit. He had just been assigned to the Aces from the Hops the day before.
The Arizona Diamondbacks announced that 2017 2nd round draft choice Drew Ellis has been assigned to the Hillsboro Hops. The third baseman comes out of Louisville where he batted .355 and swatted 20 home runs to go with 61 RBI in 2017 alone. He also brings a .976 fielding percentage with the glove.
By Greg Stoker