Eugene Emeralds Holds Down Hillsboro Hops, 7-5
The Eugene Emeralds took the first game of the three-game homestand with the Hillsboro Hops in a game with a split personality. The final score of 7-5 reflects the closeness of the game but not the beginning from the end.
The Emeralds took the lead in the top of the seventh by scoring four runs. That eruption took the Emeralds from being down two runs to being up by two. It was that moment when Eugene went from the back of the pack to the front of the race. It gave them the lead and they did not let go.
That take-charge inning was done by committee. It was not a grand slam or even a bases clearing hit. It was done by a team that was solid together. Kwang-Min Kwon opened up the attack with a triple and scored on Rafael Narea’s groundout. Zach Davis tripled and came home on Aramis Ademan’s RBI single to right. Brandon Hughes singled in Ademan and Gustavo Polanco.
The game started with a 4-0 lead by the Hops built up over the first two innings. Eugene inched closer over the next few innings but could not catch and surpass the Hops… until the seventh inning.
Bailey Clarke started the game but was relieved by Jhon Romero (W, 1-0) after giving up five runs on five hits and four walks. Romero kept the Hops hitless through the sixth for the win. Brian Glowicki (S, 1) locked down the ninth for the save.
Riley Smith started for the Hops and defined the first half personality of the contest. Lasting into the seventh inning, Riley left after 90 pitches (61 of them strikes) to an ovation by the home crowd appreciative of the effort that Riley gave including seven strike outs. When he walked off the mound, he left the Hops with a one run lead (5-4) and the bases empty with one out.
In came Cal Becker (L, 0-1) to the mound in relief. Armed with an ERA under 3.00, Becker was tagged with a rare burst of runs for the loss. Becker pitched himself out of the inning but the damage was done. Rafael Pujols came on for the last two innings and put a hitless and scoreless band-aid on the Emeralds but it was too late. Pujols struck out five of the six batters he faced but there were no more Hops runs to come save the night.
Yan Sanchez did his best to keep the Hops afloat. His bat led to the only multi-hit game of the night for the Hops. His two triples and a single kept the crowd excited but his one score and two RBIS weren’t enough by himself. The rest of the Hops only scratched out four more hits, two of which were doubles by Bryan Araiza and Pavin Smith.
On the other hand, the Emeralds came up with eleven hits for the game. Aramis Ademan led the way with three hits and a walk, scored two runs and knocked another to the plate. Gustavo Polanco, Brandon Hughes and Kwang-Min Kwon added two hits apiece. Three of those hits were triples.
With the win, the Eugene Emeralds (15-12) remain in a tie with the Boise Hawks for a tie atop of the Southern Division. The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (14-13) to one game behind the co-leaders. The loss also gave the tie breaker between Hillsboro and Eugene to the Emeralds. In case of a Hops/Emeralds tie at the end of the first half. Eugene will win the division. Hillsboro owns the tie breakers with Boise and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
Both teams will meet again at Ron Tonkin Field for the second of three games. Starting pitchers are expected to be RHP Mitchell Aker (0-4) for the Hops and RHP Enrique De Los Rios (1-0) for the Emeralds.
By Greg Stoker