Liover Peguero Walk-Off, Hillsboro Hops Over SK Volcanoes 2-1, Near Perfect Game
Liover Peguero smacked a ground rule double in the bottom of the ninth to walk off a tightly contested game. The first game of the playoffs featured a near perfect game from the mound and last minute heroics from the plate as the Hillsboro Hops defeated the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 2-1.
Near Perfect Game
Tyler Holton started and set the pace for what would end in fireworks over the outfield fence in a playoff victory by the Hops. In the first three innings, Holton faced the minimum nine batters with six strikeouts, including the entire side in the third. The fourth was his only blip of the night. But, it was a blip that gave the Volcanoes the lead for most of the game.
Amidst the strikeouts, fly balls and groundouts, Yorliss Rodriguez stepped to the plate for Salem-Keizer and knocked a solo home run over the left field fence. It would be their only hit of the night. In fact, Rodriguez proved to be their only base runner of the night.
After Yorlis Rodriguez stepped across the plate for the score, Tyler Holton went back to work. Unfazed, Holton mowed down four more victims to total ten strikeouts for the night. Add to that four more groundouts and a fly out. By the time Holton threw his 75th pitch on the night, Tyler faced 19 batters, one over the minimum needed for a perfect game. But, when he left the mound for a well deserved rest, he left the game with a 1-0 deficit and no chance for the win.
Hops Kept From Scoreboard
The Hops bats made contact with the horsehide but were kept from the home plate. Some of it was bad luck. Some of it was stellar defense by the Volcanoes. In the third, Andy Yerzy walked and Lyle Lin singled but they were followed by a double play that ended the inning.
With one out in the sixth, Lyle Lin singled for his second hit of the night, but was picked off when a wild pitch was corralled faster than expected by catcher Brandon Martorano and he threw Lin out at first. Ricky Martinez followed with a single of his own but was picked off trying to steal second for out number three.
Tristin English reached base on a two-base throwing error in the seventh. A passed ball sent him to third. But, while this was going on, Volcano pitcher Travis Perry struck out three Hops batters, stranding English at third.
Nick Snyder Completes Near-Historic Night
Luckily, while this went on, Nick Snyder came in to relieve Holton and finished the last three innings of the game. During those nine outs, Snyder struck out three more Volcano batters and faced the minimum nine plate appearances. At the end, Hops pitching faced 28 batters, one over the minimum 27. The difference between a perfect game and that 1-0 deficit was Yorliss Rodriguez’ solo homer.
At this point, the Hops out hit the Volcanoes 3-1. Hillboro had more base runners with a 5-1 lead. And the Hops pitching had a 12-6 advantage in strikeouts. It came time for the Hops bats to come through.
Corbin Carroll, who was playing high school ball earlier this year, was fresh from his return to the lineup last night after a shoulder injury. Arguably, the fastest runner for the Hops, Carroll led off the eighth with an infield single. After a pick off throw went wide and into the stands, Carroll trotted to second. With one out, Andy Yerzy stepped up and knocked a single through the infield. Consequently, Corbin Carroll scored from second. Game tied.
That set up the game winning response in the ninth. Tristin English reached base on a fielder’s choice. Ryan January moved English to second with a walk to first.
Liover Peguero, a recent addition to the Hops lineup less than a month ago, had the spotlight. Peguero ripped a double to the left-center gap and all that the outfielders Armani Smith and Alexander Canario could do was watch it bounce over the fence. Game over. Liover Peguero walked off with the winning RBI ground rule double.
As a result, the Hillsboro Hops (1-0) take a one game lead over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (0-1) in the first round, three game series. Game two is Thursday night in Volcano Stadium at 6:35 PM. If necessary, game three is also at Volcano Stadium. In the other game, the Tri-City Dust Devils (1-0) defeated the Spokane Indians (0-1) 4-3 in twelve innings.
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