English/January Power Hillsboro Hops Over Boise Hawks 10-3
The English/January power combination erupted. Ryan January has been hot lately with finding his home run stroke again hitting his third of the season. Since coming to the Hops in late June, Tristin English used the months of July and August to quickly reach number two on the Hops home run list this year with seven and counting. Together, the two sluggers knocked in all ten runs for the Hillsboro Hops in their defeat of the Boise Hawks, 10-3.
The Hawks took charge of the game first when LJ Hatch scored Jesus Azuaje and Robert Metz off of his ground out and a Hops’ fielding error. The 2-0 lead stood for over half the game as pitching on both sides did their best to shut down each other’s respective offense. For the Hawks, except for the three-hit third inning, Boise smacked one more hit until Tyler Plantier’s ninth inning triple. But, by then, the horses already fled the barn.
In the first five innings, the Hops had Ricky Martinez double in the first and Joe Gillette single in the third. No more activity with a bat until the explosive sixth.
That all changed in the sixth. The English/January power combo woke up and spoke loud. Ryan January’s two-RBI double brought home Andy Yerzy and Jesus Marriaga to tie the game in one stroke of the bat. It only foreshadowed what came next inning.
Then, something happened that fans have been waiting for all season. In the seventh, Tristin English stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and smacked one over the left field fence for the Hops’ first grand slam of the season. The Hops grabbed the lead with both hands 6-2 and never let go.
The eighth inning played more like a short break waiting for the English/January combo to come around again. The ninth did not disappoint. Tristin English doubled home Ricky Martinez. Andy Yerzy joined him with a walk. Now, Ryan January came to the plate for his turn at hitting a home run. Ryan sent his three-run homer in a straight shot over the right field fence. The English/January combo drove in all ten Hops’ runs.
To complete the final score, Tyler Plantier tripled home Trevor Boone in the ninth for Boise.
Meanwhile, the Hops pitching kept mowing down the opposition. Conor Grammes started and went three innings striking out four. Tyler Holton appeared for one inning adding one more K to the total. Nick Snyder struck out two in just one inning. Justin Garcia (W, 1-2) got his first win of his Hops’ season while he struck out three more in two innings. Finally, Liu Fuenmayor struck out three in his two innings. Colton Hathcock (L, 0-3) pitched the seventh for Boise, giving up Tristin English’s grand slam for the loss.
In total, Hops pitchers struck out thirteen Boise batters in the night. In the last five games, the Hops pitching staff combined for a 2.00 ERA. The Hops pitching is heating up for the playoffs while the Hops bats are warming up, scoring 28 runs over those same last five games.
The win maintained the Hillsboro Hops (23-13) three game lead over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes with two games to play for the second half championship of the Southern Division. Moreover, the Hops already clinched the second playoff spot to meet the Volcanoes in the first round of the playoffs. With tonight’s win, the Hops also clinch the second half championship. Now, the only thing left to accomplish is one more win or Volcano loss. That will clinch the best overall record combining both halves for the Hops. Consequently, the loss dropped the Boise Hawks (11-25) to twelve games behind the Hops.
So, both teams meet again at Memorial Stadium for game two of the final regular season series for each team. Be sure to stay with Minor League Sports Report for game recaps throughout the regular season and playoffs. Also, follow me on Twitter for half inning updates on all Hops home games. In addition, the next home game, on September 4th, will start the first round of the playoffs.