Eugene Emeralds Sweep Hops in Double Header 2-1, 6-1
Eugene Emeralds have been here before on a bigger scale. Earlier in the season, the Hops were swept in a six-game series by the Ems. This time around, a double header added to the domination Eugene has for the Hops this year winning 2-1 and 6-1 in the surprise double outing.
Game#1: In Darkest Night
No one planned for the lights to go out. The first inning went smoothly and the Emeralds were getting ready for the start of the second inning. But, this was still Saturday night. No bat would swing again until the next morning.
The Hops were on the field warming up while Ems batters loosened up swinging a bat or two. Umpires and managers stood near the Hops dugout discussing and looking up at the lights. They weren’t coming on. Quickly, an electrician from the city of Hillsboro was sent and looked over the situation.
The problem was simple. A breaker had broken. But the question of why remained. A larger breaker had also tripped in the line. The electrician reset the smaller breaker and then the larger one. When the larger one clicked back into place, reportedly there was an “explosion”. Nothing big enough for someone to get hurt and it was mostly out of sight behind the panel.
When the panel was removed and looked behind, everything was black. The fix was obvious but no way would the game finish Saturday night. Come Sunday morning at 10:50 AM, the Hops and Ems retook the field, The Hops still wearing the Sonadores de Hillsboro Uniforms in honor of the Latin community.
And The Lights Were On
Ironically, in broad daylight, the lights were on. And so was the ball game. The starting pitchers, Justin Vernia for the Hops and Seth Curry for the Ems, did not take the mound. Both pitched the first inning the day before and the clubs did not want them going through their warm up routines two days in a row.
Sunday’s second inning started with Connor Nurse (W, 5-7) for the Ems and Austin Pope for the Hops. The first game of the double header did not offer much from the plate. It was a pitcher’s game except for three runs total. Two of them by the Emeralds. Only one run by the Hops.
Eugene Emeralds Connor Nurse Takes First Game
Nurse went six innings, facing the minimum batters each inning until the fourth. Six Hops went to the plate and loaded the bases. Ronny Simon hit the Hops’ lone extra base hit, a double. AJ Vukovich and Nick Dalesandro followed with walks, pushing Simon over to third. By then, two outs loomed and the Hops ran out of time before a score could cross the plate.
The Hops scored their lone run with two outs in the fifth. Jorge Barrosa singled Leodany Perez home who reached base with a lead-off single. After that, Nurse allowed one more base runner and the next batter erased him with a fielder’s choice. Austin Reich (H, 3) and Chris Wright (S, 14) covered the last two innings facing the minimum six batters.
Eugene Emeralds Chris Wright League-Leading 14th Save
On most nights, the two runs Hops pitchers allowed would be enough for the win. But, not when the other team allows only one run. Austin Pope pitched four scoreless innings allowing three hits. When he left after five, the game still featured no runs. The Hops’ lone run didn’t come until the bottom of the inning.
Bobby Ay (L, 0-1) ran into some trouble. The Ems’ loaded the bases in the sixth but Ay struck out two Ems to end the inning. The next inning, the Ems took a different tactic. Instead of using singles and walks, they went for the power. With one out, Carter Aldrete sent a solo shot over the fence. After Kwan Adkins walked, Brett Auerbach brought him all the way home with his RBI triple. Liu Fuenmayor closed the last two innings and allowed three base runners. But no one made it past second.
Game#2: In Brightest Day
The seven inning encore took a more decisive attack. The Ems still limited the Hops to just one run. But, this time, their bats brought in six. The second and third featured the most damage.
After Logan Wyatt walked, Franklin Labour hit his two-run homer to start the scoring. In the next inning, Armani Smith hit his two-run triple, scoring Ismael Munguia and Brett Auerbach. Marco Luciano’s sac fly brought Smith home. Those two innings were the only blemish on starter Blake Walston’s (L, 2-3) outing. But, it was enough to hand him the loss.
Eugene Emeralds Jake Dahlberg Takes Second Game
The Hops’ Wesley Rodriguez and Denson Hull closed out the last two innings. Carter Aldrete tacked on an additional run when he scored on Ismael Munguia’s sac fly for the final score.
The Ems’ Jake Dahlberg (W, 2-4) pitched six of the seven innings and allowed the Hops’ only run in the fourth when he walked Elian Miranda with the bases loaded. AJ Vukovich took the free pass home and ruined the possible shutout for Dahlberg. Otherwise, Jake faced only three batters above the minimum as the Hops struggled to make it past second base. Nicholas Avila closed the seventh with three strikeouts and a pop up to second baseman Auerbach. Yes, that is four outs. Hops’ newcomer Jose Curpa struck out but made it to first as the wild pitch bounced and sailed behind catcher Ricardo Genoves.
The two wins helped the Eugene Emeralds (61-48) inch to a half game behind Spokane for the lead. Everett is a half game behind the Ems since they lost to Vancouver.
The two losses dropped the Hillsboro Hops (48-59) to two and a half games behind Vancouver and five and a half games ahead of Tri City.
The game between Spokane and Tri City was cancelled due to Covid-19 protocols with Tri City.
The last home game of the season means the end of MiLB.tv for the Hops. It also means the same for me and my Twittercast of the Hops’ home games. However, you can still listen to the games on 620 AM radio and you can follow me on Twitter occasionally and read me on Minor League Sports Report.
I will still be recapping the games on the following day. Doing weekly recaps on each Tuesday. And I plan on looking back at the full season after it ends. I also intend to follow the travails of current and former Hops and see what teams they are with during the off-season.