If only they could have saved some runs from the night before. After winning 11-1 in the series finale with the Eugene Emeralds, the Hillsboro Hops lose 6-0 to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in their series opener.
The Hops were limited to four hits (all singles) on the night led by Drew Ellis’ stat line of 2 for 3 at the plate to go with one walk. Ryan Grotjohn gave a promising start for the Hops in the first inning when he singled with only one out but was thrown out by right fielder Logan Baldwin when Grotjohn tried stretching his hit into a double.
Drew Ellis’ single came in the second inning but he did not advance to scoring position. Tim Susnara singled in the fourth with two outs and went to second on Ellis’ walk but neither runner went further. Except for a couple of walks, Hops batters had to wait until the final inning before seeing another hit when Ellis swatted his second single of the night with two outs.
Instead of the hitting barrage they so desperately needed, the team struck out eleven times against the Volcano pitching.
The win went to Alejandro De La Rosa (W, 3-3) who relieved starter Stetson Woods after three innings of fine work. No word on why the early exit as Woods was not on a limited pitch count and was doing fine allowing only two hits and no score over his stay on the mound. Aaron Phillips came on in the sixth for three hitless innings followed by John Russell to close out the ninth. The four-man battery combined to master the Hops batters all night.
Tyler Vail (L, 0-3) started for the Hops and kept the Volcanoes to two runs over five innings on six hits. But the wheels fell off to start the sixth. Before Vail could register an out, he loaded the bases on two singles and a walk.
On came reliever Keven Ginkel. His stay started with a strike out but a wild pitch scored one of his inherited runners and a bases clearing double by Shane Matheny brought the other two home. Before the inning was over, Ginkel would allow one of his batters to score the sixth and final run.
The Volcano bats peppered ten hits throughout the game and was powered by almost the entire line up. Only one home team batter would not hit safely in the game. Ryan Kirby and Rob Calabrese went on to have multi-hit games. Orlando Garcia and Shane Matheny made their lone hits count with a double. Calabrese had the game’s only triple for one of his two hits.
The win over the Hillsboro Hops raised the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes into a three-way tie for first place with Hillsboro and the Boise Hawks in the Southern Division. During the last few days, the tight division race has seen all four teams tie for the division lead for at least one day. The Eugene Emeralds remain in a close second just one game behind the three leaders.
S-K takes an early series lead in the four-game stand, 1-0. Both teams return to Volcanoes Stadium for game two of the series on Sunday. Expected pitchers are RHP Brian Shaffer (0-0) for the Hops and RHP Julio Benitez (1-5) for the Volcanoes.
By Greg Stoker