Hops Exploded Over Canadians, 8-3
The Hops exploded all over the visiting Vancouver Canadians in the fourth inning. The barrage started with the first five batters getting on base without an out. Four of them scored to give the Hillsboro Hops an insurmountable lead, eventually winning 8-3. Plus, the Hops add to their league leading total in stolen bases.
Started First Inning
For the second night in a row, Andy Yerzy smacked a two-run homer to start the scoring for the game. Andy, in only his third game as a Hop this time around, has made an immediate impact with his bat. In his first game on Thursday, Yerzy hit two singles in an early wake up call for the Hops’ bats. But, the losing streak did not end until last night when the Hops outlasted the Canadians 4-3 to break the losing streak. The highlight was Ricky Martinez stealing home for what would prove to be the winning run. But, it all started in the first with Andy’s solo shot.
Tonight’s first inning featured Andy sending another shot out of the park, this time with Axel Andueza on board. In his first three games as a Hop, Andy went 4 for 11 (.360), three runs, three RBI and two home runs. The Hops needed that infusion of power and it sparked the rest of the Hops bats.
Plus, with more hits, the Hops get more base runners. With more base runners, The Hops continue to add to their league leading total in stolen bases. Six more bases give them 51 for a total. Second place behind them is Spokane with a little more than half at 34.
Hops Exploded in Fourth
Most of the magic came in the fourth. Tra Holmes led off the inning with a single and scored off of Leodany Perez’ RBI fielder’s choice. Ricky Martinez singled and scored on a wild pitch from the Canadian’s starting pitcher Adam Kloffenstein (L, 1-1). Perez scored off another wild pitch. Two walks followed and still there were no outs.
Time for a change. Vancouver brought in Lazaro Estrada to settle things down. Three outs later, and a sacrifice fly scoring a fourth run, the inning ended with the Hops up 7-0.
The Canadians whittled away at the lead, trying to catch up before the Hops exploded again. Spencer Horwitz doubled and scored on DJ Neal’s RBI single. A bigger bite came in the seventh and Davis Schneider’s two-run homer to close it to 7-3. But, they would get no closer. The Hops added an eighth run in the next inning when Buddy Kennedy led off with a double and scored off Cam Coursey’s RBI single.
Hops Exploded on Mound
While the bats set the tone for the Hop’s offense, starter Matt Tabor (W, 2-1) set the tone for the defense. Matt faced the minimum batters for the first four innings. But, that came with help. Twice, a Canadian batter singled and be removed by the defense behind the pitcher. First when Cameron Eden was caught trying to steal second. And then when a double play erased Luis De Los Santos from the base paths.
After four innings, Matt’s pitch count was a remarkable 36 pitches, averaging nine pitches per inning. In the fifth, Matt started running into trouble. Allowing a lead-off double to Horwitz and a walk and a single, Tabor mixed three strike-outs in as well and allowed only one run to score. A sixth inning gave similar problems. Alternating two walks with three fly outs to left, Matt got himself out of the inning.
By then, Matt had an 82 pitch count and he took a well deserved rest, leaving the game with a 7-1 lead. Hunter Haworth and Blake Workman took care of the game the rest of the way. In total, Hops pitchers struck out nine and walked four.
With the Vancouver Canadians (11-6) and Everett taking a loss tonight, Eugene climbed into a three-way tie at the top of the standings. The win drew the Hillsboro Hops (7-10) closer to the league leaders and are only four games behind.
Both teams return to Ron Tonkin Field for the sixth and final game of the series. Vancouver currently leads the Hops three games to two. The Hops have a chance to even the series tomorrow. The game will be played at 1:05 PM. If you can’t make the game, you can catch it on MiLB.tv or listen to it on 102.3 FM. Otherwise, you can follow me on Twitter for half inning updates throughout the game.