The Hillsboro Hops came on late with a two-run eighth inning and made it last for the win over the Vancouver Canadians, 3-2. Up to that point, the Hops only had one run on three hits and it looked like the bats would be silent again after losing 7-0 last night.
The Canadians helped when Stuart Holmes started the eighth inning and walked the first three Hops batters to load the bases. Brandon Hinkle came on for relief and walked the next batter to bring home Alexis Olmeda for the tying run. Gerard Hernandez stepped up to the plate with the stage set. Hernandez sacrificed to center field and Trahan Stryker easily beat the throw home for the go ahead run.
The Hops made that one run lead hold up for the win. Alex Young, the 2015 second round pick of the Diamondbacks, pitched the last inning of relief in impressive fashion by striking out the side with a fastball that hummed between 90-93 mph. Young (S-1) earned the save.
The Hops pitcher of the night was starting pitcher Tyler Bolton who went eight full innings on 92 pitches. Bolton ran into a little trouble in the second inning when Sean Hurley led off with a hard hit double over left fielder Gerard Hernandez to the fence. Hurley moved to third on a Carl Wise groundout to short stop Dansby Swanson. Ryan Metzler grounded to second baseman Sergio Alcantara who threw home to catcher Alexis Olmeda. It appeared the throw was on time but a sliding Hurley made it to the plate for the game’s first lead.
Dansby Swanson made his Hops debut tonight. Swanson was born and raised in Georgia. He now lives in Tennessee where he went to Vanderbuilt. One of Swanson’s roommates was former Hops Jared Miller who had just been promoted to the Kane County Cougars. The 2015 first overall pick of the Diamondbacks started at short and played six innings. It was Swanson who scored the tying run in the sixth. After Swanson walked on a full count to open the inning, Olmeda singled through the left infield. Trevor Mitsui followed with a walk to load the bases. Luis Veras grounded out to short stop Gunner Heidt who only had the play at first. All runners advanced including Swanson with the first tying run of the night for the Hops.
Stryker Trahan returned to make his 2015 debut for the Hops. Trahan had appeared with the Hops in 2014. Stryker hit the go ahead two run homer winning the first game of the championship series. Tonight, out of four plate appearances, the former 2012 first round pick scored a run and walked twice.
In the top of the eighth, Vancouver took the lead back with Ryan Metzler’s first home run of the season over the left field fence. It would last until the bottom as the Hops took command with their two-run inning.
Taylor Saucedo started for the Canadians and did a respectable job going 5.2 innings. Saucedo allowed one run on three hits, walked four and struck out four. Taylor ran into some trouble in the sixth and Stuart Holmes (0-2) came on in relief. Holmes pitched 1.1 innings, allowed two runs on no hits for the loss.
Alexis Olmeda and Galli, Cribbs, Jr., both went 1 for 3 for the Hops. Olmeda scored a run along with Dansby Swanson and Stryker Trahan. Luis Veras sacrificed twice for two RBIs. Gerard Hernandez sacrificed to center field for the winning run and the other RBI.
Both Sean Hurley and Ryan Metzler went 1 for 3 and scored a run for the Canadians. Ryan Metzler’s home run also earned him both of the Volcanoes RBIs.
The Hillsboro Hops (9-5) remain tied with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for first place in the South Division. The Vancouver Canadians (6-8) fell to two games behind North Division leader Everett Aquasox.
Both teams will play their second game of the five-game series. The Hops took the lead 1-0.
By Greg Stoker