Hillsboro Hops, Eudy Ramos Power by Eugene Emeralds, 9-4
The Hillsboro Hops blew by the Eugene Emeralds, 9-4, to open the three-game series in Eugene. After allowing the early 3-0 lead in the first, the Hops started putting it away with a six-run second sending ten men to the plate. With two outs and a man on first, the Hops were powered by two singles and two doubles to go with two walks and a fielding error.
Ryan Grotjohn was first to get on base with a walk and then scored on consecutive singles by Yan Sanchez and Bryan Araiza. Eudy Ramos followed with a base-clearing double. Ramos took advantage of the opportunities and scored on a passed ball by catcher Miguel Amaya and a fielding error by third baseman Jhonny Bethencourt. Daulton Varsho launched the second base clearing double of the inning to score Pavin Smith who walked and Camden Duzenack who reached on the fielding error.
When the smoke cleared, the Hops were ahead 6-3 and never looked back. The road team added three more runs on the fourth to make sure. That inning featured Eudy Ramos’ second RBI double of the game scoring Bryan Araiza who reached first with a walk. Taking third on a balk, Ramos scored on Camden Duzenacks sacrifice to left. Pavin Smith tacked on the final run of the night for the Hops by walking, moving to second on a Tim Susnara walk and scoring on Ryan Grotjohn’s single.
The other seven innings, Hillsboro remained quiet but their two busy innings were more than the Emeralds could handle. Eudy Ramos was the star at the plate going 4 for 5 with two doubles, three RBIs and scored twice. Bryan Araiza went 2 for 4 for the other multi-hit game, scoring twice and knocking in a run. Daulton Varsho had a double for the other extra base hit for the Hops.
Brian Shaffer opened the game for the Hops and allowed the Emeralds to score three runs on four hits before getting out of the first inning. Shaffer did settle down in the second allowing one more hit. But, after 48 pitches and a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, Luis Castillo (W, 1-0) came to the mound in relief for the third and shut down Eugene for three innings to earn the win. The Emeralds would score a meaningless run in the sixth on Michael Cruz’ solo shot off of Jeferson Mejia. But, that would be it for the home team as Mejia, Breckin Williams and Matt Brill shut them down the rest of the way. As a whole, the road team struck out 14 home batters for the game.
Jose Albertos (L, 1-1) started and was pulled in the second inning with the score 3-0 and two outs. Two inherited runners would also score.
The win kept the Hillsboro Hops (4-1) in first place, one game over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The Eugene Emeralds (2-3) fell to two games back with the loss. Both teams return to PK Park Saturday night for game two of the three-game match. Expected pitchers are RHP Tyler Keele (3-3) for the Hops and RHP Javier Assad (1-4) for the Emeralds.
Hops notes: Hillsboro had two players promoted to the Kane County Cougars. The Cougars are a class A full season affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
RHP Mitchell Aker appeared in eight games with seven of them starts. Aker struck out 25 batters in 34.1 innings, lasting for a 1-4 record.
Connor Owings also took a step up. Owings appeared in 17 games hitting two doubles with a total of 14 hits and a .212 average.
By Greg Stoker