The Hillsboro Hops exploded for a seven run third inning and coasted for the 9-6 victory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. S-K snatched the early lead from the Hops by scoring two runs in the second and taking a 2-1 edge at home but it didn’t last past the next inning.
Sending twelve batters to the plate in the third, the Hops had their way with Volcano starter Jose Marte but not until he had already faced ten batters by himself. When Tyler Schimpf stepped to the mound in relief, Marte walked away with the score 7-2, two outs and Ryan Dobson on first. Dobson, the inherited runner, would score before S-K could get out of the inning.
It was Luis Lara who led off the inning in what seemed ages ago before he would return to the plate later in the same inning with a single of his own. In between, Daulton Varsho hit an RBI triple, Jorge Perez singled. Tra’Mayne Holmes was hit by a pitch and Camden Duzenack walked. The Volcanoes helped out with a throwing and a fielding error to go with a wild pitch and a passed ball. Holmes and Perez stole a base. All sandwiched between Lara’s walk to start the inning and the back to back to back singles by Ryan Dobson, Lara and Tim Susnara scoring Dobson.
The Hops scored single runs in the second and ninth. Varsho doubled and scored in the second. In the ninth, Holmes reached base on an error and worked his way around the bases, scoring on Duzenack’s single.
The bats of the visiting team struck almost every inning with the seventh being the only inning that went three up and three down for the Hops. Varsho had the hottest bat going 3 for 5, scoring twice, doubled twice and tripled, generating one RBI. Daulton had the only extra base hits of the game for Hillsboro.
Tim Susnara and Brian Araiza both had multi-hit games. Varsho and Tra’Mayne Holmes scored twice. All but two batters knocked in a run. Seven batters hit safely or scored a run.
Jhoan Duran (W, 5-2) started for the Hops and increased his win total. Duran struck out six batters over five innings. Only three of the five runs allowed were earned. Juan Torres allowed one more run on two hits over the sixth and seventh innings. Matt Brill (S, 1) closed the final two innings striking out three and allowing two hits for the save.
Jose Marte (L, 2-4) was chased after 2.2 innings after being walloped for eight runs on six hits despite a better performance than what the score showed. Only two of those eight runs were earned and Marte struck out six batters for 6 of 8 outs.
The win increased the Hillsboro Hops (14-13) lead in the Southern Division to two games over the Boise Hawks and Eugene Emeralds. The loss dropped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (11-16) to three games behind the Hops.
The Hops win the four-game series 3-1. Hillsboro returns home for an eight-game home stand starting off with a three-game series with Boise. The Volcanoes visit Eugene for three games.
Hops notes: Cal Becker took a rare promotional leap to the AAA Reno Aces. In 13 games, all in relief, the RHP pitched with a 2.84 ERA striking out 25 batters in 19 innings.
By Greg Stoker