Ricky Vanasco, Indians Strangle Hillsboro Hops, 9-0
Ricky Vanasco held the Hillsboro Hops while the Spokane Indians used the fifth inning to make their point in the strongest possible manner. The Hillsboro Hops gave their best effort but fell to the visitors 9-0. It was one of those nights that everyone has to suffer through even during a short season.
Ricky Vanasco Near No-Hitter
The first inning gave the visitors some caution to consider. 3B Eddie Hernandez walked and made it to third on two wild pitches by the starting pitcher for the Indians. But, Ricky Vanasco (W, 2-0) held firm and pulled himself out of the inning with no score.
From then on, Vanasco was almost unhittable. The first five innings, Vanasco faced two batters above the minimum 15. After 24 pitches in the first inning alone, he pitch count was a more respectable 75 by the end of the fifth. Normally starting pitchers are pulled at that count unless they are on a shorter leash. But, with the no hitter going, manager Kenny Hook left Vanasco in a little longer.
Steven Leyton ran out an infield single hit deep to second giving the Hpos their first hit of the night. The home team did not fare much better but with the no hitter gone, Vanasco finished the inning and took a well deserved rest. The RHP threw 88 pitches with 61 of them strikes while striking out ten Hops for the win.
High Scoring Fifth
While their pitching staff held the Hops to a shut-out, the bats were making noise on their own. The score was already 3-0 when the onslaught began. Its beginnings were consecutive singles by Jake Hoover and Eugene native Kellen Strahm. When Kenen Irizzary followed with hit by a pitch, the mood started getting more cautious. Luis Asuncion singled home Hoover and Strahm.
Time for a new pitcher. Starting pitcher Michel Gelabert (L, 2-1) went four innings and four batters in the fifth for the loss. He left with the bases loaded and all inherited runners scored to leave Gelabert with a 0-5 deficit. Jacob Stevens came on in relief. His first batter singled Irizzary home. Sacrifice flies brought home Asuncion and Blaine Crim.
Then Stevens gained control. The RHP retired the next six batters after the initial single. But, the dust settled and the score was 8-0. Strahm walked and scored in the ninth for the final score.
Draft Pick Makes Debut
2019 6th round draft pick Andrew Saalfrank took the mound for the seventh. His first time in a Hops uniform lasted only six pitches but resulted in two groundouts and a strikeout. Not bad for his first time in Hops blue.
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (14-8) to one game behind the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes who now lead the Southern Division alone. The Volcanoes won their game tonight defeating the Vancouver Canadians 13-3. The win maintained the Spokane Indians (12-10) one game lead over the Everett Aquasox for the lead in the Northern Division.
Both teams will meet for the third and final game Saturday night at 7:05 PM. Ryan Garcia, the Texas Rangers 2nd round draft choice for 2019, will debut for the Indians. The Hops have yet to determine their starting pitcher. Hillsboro will be playing to avoid the sweep.
Stay here to check out all game recaps, including back to 2015.