Eugene Emeralds Ruin Hillsboro Hops Home Opener, 6-0
The Hillsboro Hops returned home for their seasoning opener, looking to celebrate winning the Northwest League Championship for the second year in a row. After a few celebratory fireworks and some introductions to start the new year, the Eugene Emeralds spoiled the celebration by blanking the Hops, 6-0.
Except for an Emerald single in the second, both pitchers remained in control to start the game. Only a short burst of power in the third would bring in a couple of scores in the first four innings. DJ Wilson singled in the infield with two outs and Andruw Monasterio smashed a two-run homer to left.
Eugene added another run in the fifth when Yeiler Peguerro led off with a line drive double down the left field line, sliding into second ahead of the throw. Robert Garcia followed with a sacrifice bunt that successfully moved Peguerro to third, but a throwing error by pitcher Taylor Wright on the play allowed Peguerro to score.
After 79 pitches for Taylor Wright, Jake Winston took the mound in relief for the Hops to start the sixth inning. Eugene would double their score and lead with their swinging bats and the Hops defensive errors. Kevonte Mitchell led off the inning with a sharp grounder to short. A throwing error by shortstop Manny Jefferson allowed Mitchell to reach safely. A wild pitch by Winston moved the runner to second. Chris Pieters singled to third beating out the throw but Mitchell did not advance. Kevonte would reach third moments later when Winston tried to pick off Pieters but first baseman Luke Lowery missed the catch. Wladimir Galindo lined one up the middle to score Mitchell while putting runners at first and second. A passed ball by catcher Alexis Olmeda moved both runners to scoring position. Ricardo Marcano singled to center scoring both runners for what would be the final score of 6-0.
To this point, the Hops had managed only a Manny Jefferson single in the third. Another pitching change bringing in Kirby Bellow seemed to ignite the Hops in the field. Bellow struck out the side swinging. The Hops would bring in a fresh pitcher each inning for the rest of the game and the Emeralds were done scoring for the night.
For most of the night, the Hops bats were swinging and making contact but the Emeralds seemed to be either right on the spot or would make a spectacular play to rob the Hops of a safe hit. In the bottom of the seventh, Emerald center fielder DJ Wilson made an amazing slide to catch an almost sure hit by Billy Endris, robbing the Hops of a chance to get something started.
Eugene starter Manuel Rondon (1-0) allowed just 1-hit in 5-innings of work. He struck out 4. Michael Knighton earned his first save with 4-innings of work where he allowed just 2-hits and struck out 3. Neither Emeralds pitcher walked a batter.
Tyler Payne and Yeiler Peguero each had 2-hits for Eugene. Ricardo Marcano and Andruw Monasterio each drove in 2-runs.
These two teams continue their series Tuesday night. Jesus Castillo will start for Eugene. He will be opposed by Colin Pche. Game time is 7:05.
By Greg Stoker