Eduardo Herrera, Hillsboro Hops Hold Off Tri City 6-4
Pitcher Eduardo Herrera came on in the ninth inning after the Tri City Dust Devils came back within two runs of the Hillsboro Hops. From the mound, Herrera shut down the Dust Devils to preserve the win and earn the save, 6-4.
The Hops swung the bat in the first inning like a juggernaut. Even with two outs facing them, the Hops batters kept pounding the ball. Andy Yerzy stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and singled home Tristin English and Jesus Marriaga to start the ball rolling. Dominic Canzone, last night’s hero, singled home Liover Peguero. Joining in on the fun, Eddie Hernandez tripled home Yerzy and Canzone.
Before the Dust Devils could catch their breath, the Hops led 5-0 and the game just started. The next inning, Jorge Barrosa singled home Ricky Martinez. Who knew the Hops would lead 6-0 in the second inning and never score another run in the game? But, that opened the door for the Dust Devils to slowly catch up.
Tortoise and the Hare
The Dust Devils did it slowly but they almost made it to the finish line. A few more innings and they might have. But, they had to try. The first door opened when third baseman Tristin English fielded a grounder and threw it past first baseman Andy Yerzy with Kelvin Meleon on second. While the infield chased the ball down, Meleon scooted all the home from second.
In the sixth inning, Logan Driscoll doubled and came home on Sean Guilbe’s sacrifice fly. The eighth saw the biggest leap when the Dust Devils doubled their score to four. By then, things fell apart for the Hops. With the bases loaded, pitcher Yan Sanchez walked in a run.
With the bases still loaded, it was time for an appearance by Eduardo Hernandez. In stepped the experienced reliever who already had five saves on his record. On Herrera’s first pitch, Logan Driscoll scored again on Nick Gatewood’s sacrifice fly. Then, Eduardo Herrera struck out the next batter and the inning ended with minimal extra damage.
To compare the Hops to the Hare in this part of the story is unfair. Most of the credit belonged to three pitchers who took over after the 6-0 lead. Felix Minjarez, Connor Lehmann and Ramon Perez combined for almost seven innings of scoreless relief with just two hits for the Hops the rest of the way.
The win lifted the Hillsboro Hops into sole possession of first place in the Southern Division with the Eugene Emeralds losing tonight in extra innings against the Spokane Indians. The loss dropped the Tri City Dust Devils from one game to two games behind the Northern Division leading Indians. The series ended with the Hops taking the series 2-1.
The Hops will take to the road and their first series could go a long way in determining the second half champion for the Southern Division. Their first stop will be a three game series against their closest competitor, the Emeralds. With thirteen games left in the second half, only one game seperate the two contenders.
Eugene will send Ryan Jensen to the mound Tuesday night. In his last appearance on Wednesday, Jenson lasted three innings, giving up one run on three hits for the no decision. The Hops will put Conor Grammes on the mound. In Grammes’ last appearance on Thursday, he went two innings on a limited pitch count giving up no runs on one hit for the no decision.
The Tri City Dust Devils return home for a three game stand hosting the Vancouver Canadians.
Meanwhile, stay with the Minor League Sports Report for game recaps throughout the season. Also, follow me on Twitter for half inning updates on all Hops home games. Next home game for the Hops will be August 28th, when they host the Boise Hawks in their last home series of the regular season.