The three-game winning streak is over. It was fun while it lasted but it ended horribly for the Hillsboro Hops as Fernando Kelli hurried home on a wild pitch by relief pitcher Kai-Wei Lin in the bottom of the ninth. The Eugene Emeralds won the game 4-3. Eugenio Palma (W, 1-1) pitched the last three innings with four strike outs for the win.
The game was dominated by pitching early on. The Hops scored and it seemed they had enough as the ninth inning approached. But, they were wrong. In the final half inning for the home team, Nico Hoerner walked to start off the ninth. Johnathan Sierra singled Nico over to third. Christopher Morel committed the first out but it was a sacrifice fly scoring Nico.
Slipped Through Fingers
The Hops still had the lead, 3-1 but they had two more outs to go. Tyler Duma smacked a ground rule double putting both runners in scoring position. Shawn Roof came out of the dugout to argue with plate umpire Ray Patchen about whether the ball was fair or foul. Patchen ejected Roof for his efforts. Gustavo Polanco hit another ground-rule double scoring both runners to tie the game.
The time came for Kai-Wei Lin to relieve Wesley Rodriguez. The speedy Fernando Kelli took Polanco’s place at second base. A wild pitch sent Kelli to third. Another wild pitch sent Kelli home for the winning run. A walk-off wild pitch ended the game.
Adrian Del Moral started for the Hops and went five innings of shutout ball, allowing only two hits. Brian Christian and Josh Green came on to do their part. However, the four runs scored in the final inning all belonged to Wesley Rodriguez (L, 3-1) for the loss.
The Hops bats did their part, taking the team into the end with a 3-0 lead. Eight hits, three of which were doubles, increased the lead up to the ninth. Ryan Dobson went 3 for 4, doubled and scored a run. Joey Rose went 2 for 4, doubled and scored a run.
But, all of that was outmatched in just one half inning. Two doubles and a single enhanced by a walk, a sacrifice fly and two wild pitches were enough to send the home crowd home cheering. The Hops are still in first place of the Southern division but this loss will always be remembered as the win that got away.
With the loss, the Hillsboro Hops (16-8) dropped down to a two game lead over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (14-10). The win helped the Eugene Emeralds (9-15) gain one game on the Hops and are now seven games behind the division leader.
The three game series is even at 1-1. Both teams will meet Monday for the final game. RHP Jackson Goddard (0-1) will start for the Hops. Goddard is this years’ third round draft choice of the Arizona Diamondbacks from the University of Kansas. Ryan Williams (1-3) will start for the Emeralds. The right hander is out of East Carolina University.
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