Nick Thwaits, Tri-City Shut Down Hillsboro Hop 2-0
Nick Thwaits (W, 3-2) shrugged off a last appearance no decision into a precision six inning performance that led to a shut out of the Hillsboro Hops by the Tri City Dust Devils 2-0. Three pitchers combined for a nine inning starvation at the plate for the Hops batters that also included Starlin Cordero (H, 1) and Dominic DiSabatino (S, 1).
However, Nick Thwaits and the pitching staff could not win a game alone. They needed solo home runs by Jack Stronach and Matthew Acosta to set the lead and winning margin.
Closer Than Appeared
But it wasn’t really that close. The last five innings of the game, The Hops threatened to score every inning. They just couldn’t get that last leg that led to home. Instead, for five innings in a row, the Hops inning ended with two runners stranded on the bases every time. The sixth and eighth featured runners left at first and second. The odd innings of fifth, seventh and ninth featured runners at the corners each time the third out was called. Ninety feet away from breaking onto the scoreboard.
The final inning of the ninth proved to be the most tantalizing. Down two runs with their last three outs their only chance, the Hops started with two outs: a strikeout and a fielder’s choice. But, that still left Lyle Lin on base. Ricky Martinez followed with another single putting runners at the corners. With a potential walk-off win standing at the plate, a deep fly ball to right that was foul by just a few feet raised expectations. But, a groundout two pitches later ended their last chance and the game was over.
Took One For Team
The eighth started with a more unusual twist. Jorge Barrosa and Tristin English started out by being plucked by the pitcher Starlin Cordero giving the Hops two runners at first and second with no outs. Unfortunately, the game didn’t go their way. A double play removed English from the base paths though it did move Barrosa to third. Now down to one runner and two outs, a flyout ended the inning. So close but they could not touch the home plate.
The Hops could not blame poor luck for their misfortunes. They had plenty of opportunities to close in on their visitors. The main reason they couldn’t was Nick Thwaits and his bullpen mates. The Hops mustered only six hits on the night – all of them singles. Even when they connected, the Hops bats couldn’t tag an extra base hit.
The game overshadowed the fine pitching from the Hillsboro Hops pitching staff. Starter Deyni Olivero (L, 7-2), the league leader in wins and ERA, came with another fine performance allowing only one run on three hits. Normally, enough for a good win. But, not tonight. Giving up a solo home run to Jack Stronach in the fourth inning proved to be fatal for his won-loss record. Reliever Jacob Stevens suffered the same fate. A worthy appearance on the mound suffering just one blip. Stevens’ blip echoed Nick Thwait with another solo home run, this time by Matthew Acosta in the sixth. Liu Fuenmayor and Ethan Larrison covered the last three innings in a scoreless, two-hit fashion.
With the loss, the Hillsboro Hops (13-10) remained tied with the Eugene Emeralds for first place in the Southern Division. The win kept the Tri City Dust Devils (13-10) one game behind the Northern Division leading Spokane Indians. Both teams continue the series Sunday afternoon at 4:05 PM for game two between them.
Ignacio Feliz (2-2) starts for the Dust Devils on the mound. In his last appearance, Feliz pitched five scoreless innings with three hits in the win. Drey Jameson (0-0) takes the mound for the Hops. In his last appearance, Jameson lasted one inning after giving up four runs on four hits for the no decision.
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