Hops Sweep Double-header from Eugene Emeralds, 6-2 and 2-0
Hops sweep the Monday double-header from the league leading Eugene Emeralds 6-2 and 2-0 in the most unique home/road game the two teams have faced. The game was in Hillsboro and played in the Hops home stadium yet the home team was the Eugene Emeralds.
Before someone starts whistling the Twilight Zone theme, here is a simple explanation of why the Hops started their road trip at home. PK Park, the Emeralds home field shared with the Oregon Ducks, wasn’t available. The Ducks had a previously scheduled pair of games with Gonzaga. So the Ems and Hops agreed to meet up in Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro. Now, they have two days off before the six-game series resumes on Thursday where it is supposed to be: PK Park. There is more detail here.
Still, everyone must have felt things were out of sort. Make no mistake, it isn’t everyday the home crowd roots for the “visiting” team. Though some faithfull Ems fans made the trip north from Eugene which is only a two hour’s drive away.
Hops Sweep First Game
A five run fourth inning decided the game in just a few short minutes. Though, with a game between these two long time rivals, you know to wait until the final out because anything can happen.
The Hops sent eight men to the plate. Their bats spoke loudly and the “home team” must have wondered if they would ever shut up. Cam Coursey took the first pitch and knocked it into the gap for a triple. Nick Dalesandro’s RBI single brought him home to tie the game. Corbin Carroll came to the plate with two men on board and cracked a two-run single for the lead. When Blaze Alexander doubled home Carroll, game time was over for Ems pitcher Kai-Wei Teng. Jasier Herrera took over the mound to end the inning. But, before he did, Dom Cazone’s sac fly scored Alexander after he stole third.
Hunter Haworth came on in the bottom of the inning and kept the Em’s scoreless the rest of the way, though the Ems did not go quietly. A strange pattern developed. In the fourth, Ismael Mungia doubled with two outs but left stranded at second. In the fifth, Patrick Bailey led off with a double and watched his teammates go down 1-2-3 while stranded at second. The sixth saw another two out double, this time by Franklin Labour. However, he didn’t get past second either. Finally, Will Wilson doubled with two outs in the seventh but never saw third.
Hops Sweep Second Game
The fifth inning decided the game this time. Tra Holmes led off with a double and moved to third when Luvin reached first on an error. With men on the corners, Alexander Hernandez hit into an RBI double play. It turned out to be the game winning run. Corbin Carrol came to the plate afterwards to empty bases and socked a solo shot over the right field fence for insurance.
But, the story of the second game belonged to the Hops’ starting pitcher: Luis Frias. As one of the Arizona Diamondbacks top prospects, Luis held the Ems to two hits over six innings with no score. Nick Snyder came on to take care of the seventh inning and gave up the Em’s third hit of the game.
Luis’ eight strikeout performance frustrated any attempt to join the Hops on the scoreboard. Diego Rincones led off the second with a double but did not score. After Luis gave up a single to Mungia in the top of the third, Frias retired the last twelve batters he faced.
Series Continues in Eugene Thursday
Now that the league is playing a six game series every week, it is doubtful that the Hops will sweep the rest of the series but it must have felt like a tonic after facing the Aquasox the previous week. Eugene came in after nearly sweeping their first series, 5-1. The Ems started the day in the league’s top position, three games ahead of fifth-place Hillsboro. After the Hops swept away the dust settling from the doubleheader, The Eugene Emeralds (5-3) now are in a first place tie with the Everett Aquasox but the A’sox sit in first by percentage points. The Hillsboro Hops (4-4) now are in third place, one game behind the top.
Both teams will meet again on Thursday down south in PK Park, the real home of the Emeralds – after two days off.
By Greg Stoker