Eric Rivera, Vancouver Canadians Slam Hops 8-2 in Last Game of Season
Eric Rivera led the way going 3 for 4 and scored three times on a day that didn’t quite add up. Indicators describe a game that is all over the place. But, the simple truth is that the Vancouver Canadians defeated the Hillsboro Hops 8-2. And, no statistic can change that.
Looking at the Facts and Figures
On the last day of the season, the only thing on the line was pride. The Hops had already clinched fourth place leaving the Canadians in fifth. With inclement weather canceling Saturday’s game, only five games were to be played in the last series of the year. The Hops had won the first four and had a chance to sweep another team for the first and only time this season. The Canadians had one last chance to avoid that outcome.
If you looked at the total number of hits, you would see that Hillsboro slightly outhit the Canadians 9-8. Normally, that would mean a close game, not a six run blow out by the lesser hitting team. Hops pitchers struck out more Canadians’ batters 15-5 yet both teams had 14 runners reach base. Vancouver did draw more walks but only by 4-2.
Looking at the fifth gives us a clue. We can see everything aligning like the planets. In that one inning, the Canadians drew two of their four walks. They also saw the lone Hops error allow a runner to base. Three of their eight hits combined in between their first and second out of the inning. Davis Schneider’s double, one of their two extra base hits, happened with the bases loaded. Put that all together for five runs and you have your win.
The Alignment of Eric Rivera
Up stepped Eric Rivera to the plate in the third, fifth and sixth innings. All three times, Eric scored. The first time, with the score tied at 1-1, Eric singled and scored on Philip Clarke’s RBI single to give his team the lead. The second time, with the score tied at 2-2, Eric singled and scored on Philip Clarke’s bases-loaded walk. This time, the Canadians kept the lead. Just to be safe, the third time Eric stepped up to the plate, with the score 7-2 Vancouver, Eric singled for the third time and scored on catcher Axel Andueza’s throw to first after Trevor Schwecke struck out.
There was plenty more scoring in the game for the Canadians. Under Hops starting pitcher Shumpei Yoshikawa (L, 0-1), Tanner Morris started it all when he sent a solo shot on its way in the first. Shumpei struck out nine batters over his first four innings and his first batter in the fifth. However, Shumpei had two more outs before the inning was over.
Eric Rivera Goes For a Walk
Jose Santamaria relieved Yoshikawa with the bases loaded. First thing he did was to walk Eric Rivera home from third. Davis Schneider followed with a two run double, scoring Zac Cook and Tanner Morris. The rest of the game was covered by Austin Pope, Mailon Arroyo and Yaramil Hiraldo each taking one inning.
Austin Pope faced five batters in the seventh. Unfortunately for the Hops, one of those batters was Eric Rivera scoring his third run of the night. Mailon Arroyo struck out three batters. But his perfect inning was broken up by Will Robertson’s single. Only Yaramil Hiraldo would face the minimum three batters in the inning.
Vancouver’s Mound Clamps Down
Vancouver’s pitching staff fared better. Starter Alejandro Meleon (W, 1-1) went into the sixth inning before being relieved by Justin Maese. While on the mound, Alejandro allowed both Hops’ runs. Both were scored by AJ Vukovich. In the second, AJ led off with a single and scored on Axel Andueza’s RBI single. In the fourth, AJ cut out the middleman and sent a lead-off solo homer over the fence. Those would be the only two runs for the Hops tonight.
Subsequently, Justin Maese finished the sixth after Cam Coursey’s double and took all of the seventh. Maese allowed back to back singles by Leodany Perez and Jorge Barrosa but allowed no one to score. Secondly, Gabriel Ponce allowed only one base runner on a walk: Cam Coursey. After that, closer Hagen Danner faced the minimum three batters.
Meanwhile, the win drew the fifth place Vancouver Canadians (55-64) to one half game behind the fourth place Hillsboro Hops (52-60). However, the season ended, freezing the final standings into the record books. If Saturday’s game had not been called due to inclement weather, the Canadians would have had one last chance to jump over the Hops for fourth.