Tri-City Dust Devils, Justin Lopez Take Close One from Hillsboro Hops 4-3
An error filled night served to help keep the game close as the Tri-City Dust Devils beat the Hillsboro Hops 4-3. Though suspenseful, the game was pretty much decided when the Dust Devils took an early 3-2 lead after two.
After two consecutive singles to start the first inning for the home team, it was a long wait before Luis Asuncion could swat a sacrifice fly to bring Tyler Benson home for the game’s first tally.
The Hops answered back with two runs of their own and the lead. The second inning featured three walks for the road team. Ryan Grotjohn took advantage and singled home Drew Ellis. After that, Camden Duzenack sacrificed to let Tra’Mayne Holmes score the go ahead run.
The Hops didn’t have the lead for long. In the bottom of the inning. Three consecutive singles scored Luis Almanzar who led off. Tyler Benson shot a sacrifice to bring home Bryant Aragon. The Dust Devils had regained the lead for good.
The game was defined by those early innings as the pitching staff on both sides limited each team to one run a piece. The Hops managed to tie it on Pavin Smith’s RBI single scoring Duzenack. But, Tri City had the answer when Justin Lopez singled home Almanzar in the next inning.
The Hops pitching kept the visitors within striking distance but were hurt by handing out nine walks and were also hampered by a throwing and fielding error to go with a wild pitch. Brian Shaffer started for the Hops but was chased after the first inning allowing three runs on four hits. Shaffer started the second inning but relief was called when Brian gave up two singles to start the inning with no outs.
Kevin McCanna (L, 2-1) came to the mound to shut the home team down but not until after his two inherited runners scored. Kevin went five innings scattering four hits. It was Kevin’s errant throw in the sixth that would open the gate one last time when he tried for the double play but saw the ball sail into center field. Later in the inning, the Dust Devils scored their fourth and final run to give Kevin his first loss as a Hop.
The Tri City mound crew both hurt and helped themselves to keep the game close. For each and every one of the nine batters they struck out, they also walked nine. What kept the Hops down was only getting three hits during the game. Elias Torres (W, 3-0) was the pitcher of record when the Dust Devils scored the eventual winning run. Trevor Megill (S, 1) came on for the ninth to earn the save.
Neither team had an extra base hit. The Dust Devils made their difference with eight singles on the night. Justin Lopez raised his average to .257 going 3 for 4. Luis Almanzar also had a multi-hit game going 2-4.
The Hillsboro Hops’ (9-11) loss, coupled with Eugene’s loss, dropped both teams one game behind the Boise Hawks who sit alone on top of the standings. The win kept the Tri City Dust Devils (12-8) tied with the Vancouver Canadians on top of the Northern Division.
The Dust Devils took the five-game series in commanding fashion, 4-1.
Hillsboro will return home Wednesday for a three-game series with the Eugene Emeralds. Thursday will feature Portlandia Night with the Voodoo Doughnut Van hosting on the concourse. The homestand will be capped off Friday night with a free beer stein giveaway to the first 1000 fans who are over 21. It will also be a chance for the fans to bring non-perishable food items to “Fill the truck” from the Ron Tonkin dealerships. Food will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank.
Tri City will hit the road for a four-game visit with the Everett Aquasox before coming home to greet the Spokane Indians for three games.
By Greg Stoker