Carlos Hernandez, Hillsboro Hops Broil Everett Aquasox, 2-1
The temperature at the start of the game was a sweltering 102 degrees by Pacific Northwest standards. By the fifth inning, it had cooled down to a dry 95 and then 93 by game’s end, but what didn’t cool down was the Hillsboro Hops pitching who beat the Everett Aquasox 2-1.
The Hops’ opponent streak ended in the seventh inning at 27 straight scoreless innings. No team had scored on the Hops since the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s game.
The Aquasox’s lone run came after Hops Lawrence Pardo relieved starting pitcher Carlos Hernandez to start the seventh. The first batter, Erick Mejia, walked on a full count and Jordan Cowan followed with another walk that moved Mejia over to second.
That brought another pitching change after only two batters. Will Landsheft relieved Lawrence Pardo. After a flyout to center, Connor Hale hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Mejia to score on the throw to first.
Carlos Hernandez (1-1) continued a run of sparkling jobs by the Hops starting pitchers, shutting down the Aquasox on three hits and no runs. He allowed two walks and struck out ten for the win. Will Landsheft pitched one inning of one hit relief followed by Cody Greer with one inning of one hit relief and one strike out. Ryan Burr (S-1) pitched the last inning, retiring the side 1-2-3 for the save.
Andrew Moore (0-1) started the game for the Aquasox going three innings. Moore allowed two runs on five hits, striking out three for the loss
The scoring started in the bottom of the third. The first batter of the inning, Jose Queliz, slugged a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence for a home run. The Hops would need one more run and they got it minutes later. Zach Nehrir singled over the right side of the infield. With Stephen Dezzi at the plate, Nehrir stole second, easily sliding into base before the tag arrived. Then Dezzi ripped a solid line drive over left fielder Corey Simpson’s head that bounced over the left field fence for a ground rule double. Nehrir came home with what would be the winning run. It was only an insurance run at the time but the Hops would need it.
For the Hops, Zach Nehrir went 3 for 4 with an RBI. Jose Queliz went 2 for 3, scoring a run and earning an RBI with his home run. Queliz also had a triple. Stephen Dezzi and Gerard Hernandez went 1 for 3. Dezzi’s lone hit was a double that earned the other RBI for the Hops. Fernery Ozuna punched a line drive down the first base line and into the corner for a stand up double.
For the Aquasox, Corey Simpson went 2 for 3. Braden Bishop went 2 for 4. The Aquasox had no extra base hits.
The Hillsboro Hops (18-12) stayed one game ahead of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for the South Division lead. The Everett Aquasox (17-13) maintained their one game lead over the Tri-City Dust Devils for the North Division lead. The Hops now own the league’s best record with eight games left to play in the first half.
Both teams continue Sunday evening with the second game of a five game series.
By Greg Stoker
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