Hillsboro Hops Shoestring Eugene Emeralds 5-4
In front of the largest crowd to ever attend a game at Ron Tonkin Field (5213), the Hillsboro Hops beat the Eugene Emeralds 5-4. The game ended on a fine defensive play when Hops shortstop Sergio Alcantara snagged a shoestring catch off the bat of Emeralds Justin Marra in the top of the ninth.
The scoring started in the first inning when Emeralds’ Eloy Jimenez singled up the middle with one out. Ian Happ, the Chicago Cubs first round pick this year, came to the plate. When a pitch bounced in the dirt in front of home and spun away, Jimenez quickly moved to second. After a passed ball by catcher Jose Queliz, Jimenez slipped over to third. Happ then walked putting runners at the corners. Blake Headley came to the plate and Happ stole second base with no throw attempted. Headley knocked a single up the middle as both runners scored. Emeralds led 2-0.
The Hops answered back with one run to eat away at the lead. Zach Nehrir led off with a tall blooping single dropping in between second baseman Frandy Delarosa and right fielder Ricardo Marcano. Nehrir extended the single into a double with some alert base running. After two strikeouts, Trevor Mitsui walked. Zack Hoffpauir was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded. A wild throw by starting pitcher Jose Paulino allowed Nehrir to come home. Emeralds led 2-1.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Hops took the lead. With two outs, Nehrir reached first on an error by shortstop Ho-young Son. Dane McFarland quickly followed by sending his first pitch over the left field fence. Hops led 3-2.
Hops added some needed insurance in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Dane McFarland singled to left center field.. Luis Veras followed with the Hop’s second home run of the night to left center. Hops were up 5-2.
The top of the ninth made the game much closer as the Emeralds sent eight batters to the plate. Frandy Delarosa walked to start the inning. Ricardo Marcano came to the plate. The pitch bounced in front of home plate and out of play. Delarosa took second. With two outs, Ricardo Marcano walked. Donnie Dewees came to the plate representing the tying run. Dewees walked to load the bases.
Matt Rose batted for Kevonte Mitchell. Rose singled and brought home Delarosa and Marcano. Dewees scooted to third. Varonex Cuevas pinch ran for Rose.The score was 5-4. The tying run was on third and the go ahead run on first when Justin Marra came to the plate. That was when he smacked a line drive to shortstop Sergio Alcantara for the shoestring catch.
The win brought the Hops to one game behind the Emeralds for the South Division lead.
Starting Hops pitcher Jeferson Mejia (1-1) managed enough control to hold the Emeralds to two runs on four hits for the win. Mejia also walked five and struck out five. Miles Smith (S-2) came on in the ninth for the save.
Starting Emeralds pitcher, Jose Paulina, is credited for the loss, going three innings with three runs (one earned), two walks and three strikeouts.
Hops Dane McFarland brought a heavy bat to the game, going 2 for 4, scoring two runs with two RBIs and his home run in the second inning. Luis Veras had 2 RBI, with his sixth inning homer proving to be the winning run. Zach Nehrir also went 2 for 4 and scored two runs.
Emeralds had several batters with key hits. Matt Rose pinch hit in the ninth inning for two RBIs. Blake Headley’s first inning single knocked in Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ for two RBIs.
The Eugene Emeralds (9-7) won the three-game series over the Hillsboro Hops (8-8), 2-1. The Emeralds will go home for a five-game series with the Vancouver Canadians. The Hops will take to the road for a five-game series with the Everett Aquasox.
by Greg Stoker