Brandon Pfaadt Froze Out, Hillsboro Hops Clobber Ems 7-0
Brandon Pfaadt froze out the Eugene Emeralds for seven innings and retired the last 13 batters he faced on the way to the fourth Hops shut out of the season. For seven innings, Brandon Pfaadt (W, 5-4) had a lock on home plate. Gerald Ogando and Denson Hull followed with one inning each to combine for the shutout. The Hillsboro Hops blank the Eugene Emeralds 7-0.
The previous night, Eugene broke the Hops ongoing six-game winning streak with a grand slam in the tenth inning. Tonight, the Hops started a new winning streak by being aggressive.
In fact, the Hops were aggressive all night. Blaze Alexander led off the fourth inning and sent the first pitch over the right field fence. But not until after bouncing off the yellow tubing running along the top. In a repeat, Eduardo Diaz led off the fifth inning the same way. First pitch over the fence. It was also Diaz’ fourth game in a row hitting a home run extending his team lead in the category.
Two Out Magic
It really started in the first inning. Jorge Barrosa hit a one out double sandwiched between two ground outs. Then, the Hops scored four runs with two outs in the inning. Spencer Brickhouse walked to first. AJ Vukovich doubled Barrosa home for the first run of the game. Blaze Alexander singled home two runs. Brickhouse scored from second but no one expected Vukovich to be not that far behind him. As he turned third, manager Vince Harrison wheeled his arms for him to score. The throw to the plate was high but doubtful it was on time if on target. Nick Dalesandro brought the last first inning run home when he singled Alexander home
Starting pitcher Jake Dahlberg (L, 1-2) for the Ems shook his head in frustration. After that Leodany Perez flew out for the final out and then Dahlberg continued. Jake retired the next ten of eleven batters. However, that eleventh batter was Blaze Alexander and his bouncing home run hopping off the top rail.
Jake came back for one last inning for his pitch count. The fifth didn’t start any better than the fourth. His first batter was Diaz and his home run streak, extending the streak one more day. After a single by Barrosa and 79 pitches, Solomon Bates came in to relieve Dahlberg. Bates gave up an RBI double to Vukovich. Otherwise, that was the last time the Hops scored. All seven runs were credited to starter Dahlberg.
Several Hops batters were busy tonight. Jorge Barrosa went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a single, scoring twice. AJ Vukovich went 2 for 4 with two doubles, both bringing a run home. Blaze Alexander went 2 for 4 with three RBI and scoring twice.
A surprising aspect were the home runs. For the last two nights, home runs were leaving the park like they were free giveaways. Eleven total for both nights combined. Tonight? Two home runs, both by the Hops’ Alexander and Diaz. The only extra base hits for Eugene were doubles by Kwan Adkins and Tyler Fitzgerald. In fact, the Ems amassed only three hits all night thanks to the Hops pitchers. Brandon Pfaadt froze out and limited the Ems to two hits over seven innings while Denson Hull allowed the third hit in the ninth. Gerald Ogando pitched a hitless and scoreless eighth.
Cream Rising to Top
Brandon Pfaadt froze the Ems and got his fifth win of the season to lead the Hops. Yaramil Hiraldo almost had a chance to go for his team-leading eighth save. But, by the time he got to the save situation, there was no save situation. The closest the tying run ever came to the plate was the back of the dugout and maybe down the hallway a bit.
Eduardo Diaz extended his team leading home runs to 13 which is also a new all-time record for the Hops. One caveat however, Eduardo is breaking the record in a 120 game season. Prior to this, the Hops only played 76 games a year in short season A ball. A lot of cumulative records are being broken or will be broken this year. The only records that are reasonably safe are those based on percentages.
The win helped the Hillsboro Hops (42-45) gain a step closer to Eugene and are seven and a half games behind the Emeralds. The Hops stayed the same with Everett who also won tonight. However, the Hops are also closing in on another target: a five hundred record. They are three games away from not having a losing record and they have 32 more games to do it.
Both teams meet again Saturday night for game#5 in the weekly series. The game will be a “green out” so wear green if you can and are going to the game. If you can’t make it to the game, you can watch it on MiLB.tv, listen to it on 620 AM radio or follow me on Twitter for half-inning updates. You can find my Twitter handle below.