Coursey Returns, Hops Over Canadians 3-2
Coursey returns from the 7-day injured list and picked up right where he left off: hitting and scoring. In a low scoring game filled with errors and double plays, the Hillsboro Hops survive a ninth inning rally by the Vancouver Canadians to take the second game of the series, 3-2.
Coursey Returns with Hops’ First Hit of Game
But, first, both starting pitchers established control from the mound. For the first four innings, no base runner could get past second base. Vancouver starter Alex Nolan (L, 1-6) made it through with a little help from catcher Philip Clarke who caught AJ Vukovich trying to steal third. He also limited the Hops to just one hit: a single from Cam Coursey in the second inning.
Hillsboro starter Justin Vernia (W, 4-5) also limited the Canadians to just one hit through the first four innings, a Zac Cook single in the fourth. Double plays eliminated both Cook and Davis Schneider, who walked in the third, to keep the batters faced to the minimum twelve batters. The last time Vernia faced the Canadians resulted in a win as well.
Coursey Returns with Hops’ First Run of Game
Then, the fifth inning happened. In the top half, Cam Coursey walked and scored on an error by shortstop Addison Barger. Axel Andueza singled and scored on the same error. Nick Dalesandro reached base on that same error and scored on Ronny Simon’s sac fly. The three runs proved to be the only runs the Hops scored in the game.
Before the fifth, the Hops had two batters reach base and left standing: Coursey’s single and Jorge Barrosa reaching in the third on first baseman PK Morris’ error. After the fifth, the Hops had only two base runners left standing: Simon’s walk in the eighth and Coursey’s walk in the ninth. Without the Hops sending seven men to the plate and producing three runs on two hits with a walk and an error to help, the visitors would have been shut out. Instead, the Hops barely survive to win the one run game.
Canadians Make it a Party
In the bottom of the fifth, the Canadians also finally found home plate. Philip Clarke led off with a double and scored on a double play involving PK Morris and Addison Barger. The only other run scored by the Canadians would be in the ninth inning rally.
Vancouver led off the ninth with Eric Rivera’s single in the ninth and sent six men to the plate. Rivera scored on Tanner Morris’ RBI single to cut the lead to one run. Before closer Mailon Arroyo (S, 5) could get three outs, Vancouver put Morris on third and Clarke on second. Having the tying run 90 feet away and the go ahead walk off winning run on second would be the closest the Canadians got to a win.
Coursey Returns, Adding Two Walks
In between the two Canadians runs, middle reliever Nick Snyder (H, 9) held the home team scoreless, hitless and allowed only three base runners. In addition to the rally in the ninth, Eric Rivera singled in the sixth with one out.
Meanwhile, Vancouver allowed no more runs. Nick Dalesandro was tagged at third trying to stretch a double into a triple. Cam Coursey (in the 9th), Ronny Simon (in the 8th) walked but never made it past first base. The three Vancouver relievers held the Hops scoreless the rest of the way after their three run inning. Will McAffer allowed just one hit. Gabriel Ponce and Jol Concepcion teamed up for two innings of no-hit ball.
The win helped the Hillsboro Hops (50-59) to get within a half game of the Vancouver Canadians (54-62) in the fight for fourth place. With four games to go in the season, the Hops lead the series 2-0. Both teams meet Thursday for game#3. You can listen to it on 620 AM radio or buy a ticket and watch the game here in Hillsboro. Even though the Hops are on the road, they are sharing Ron Tonkin Field with the Canadians for home field.
Also, in the other tight race, Everett was eliminated by their loss from the playoffs. As a result, with four games to go, they sit five games behind Eugene and four and a half behind Spokane. In other words, this means that only the Eugene Emeralds and the Spokane Indians will make the playoffs. But, with the race being so tight, first place is still up from grabs. Meanwhile, only a half game separate the two playoff teams.