Eugene Emeralds Take Series with a 2-0 Win Over Hillsboro Hops
The Hillsboro Hops fell to the Eugene Emeralds 2-0 in a pitcher’s duel. Both runs were scored in the top of the seventh inning where Austin Filiere led off with a double to the center field warning track and off the fence.
Michael Cruz then laid down the perfect bunt single to third putting runners at the corners. Cruz pointed the bunt down the third base line and third baseman Drew Ellis waited out the shaky grounder to turn foul as is normal for the situation. Instead, the ball teased and stayed fair. The dribbling grounder eventually reached the third base bag and stopped in fair territory, far too late for the throw to first.
Filiere scored what would be the winning run when starting pitcher Tyler Keele (L, 2-2) uncorked a wild pitch. Johnny Bethencourt bounced a ground rule double over the left-centerfield fence to score Jose Gonzalez as an insurance run. Kevin Ginkel had come to the mound but Gonzalez was an inherited runner from Keele putting both runs on Keele’s side of the ledger.
The runs were scarce in a series between two teams that were averaging a 6.5-5 game score. Eugene outhit the Hops 7-5 and all hits were finished by the seventh inning. Eight pitchers for the game acquitted themselves with honor on the mound, even if it meant a loss.
Ricky Tyler Thomas (W, 1-0) was the pitcher of record when the Emeralds scored the lone runs of the game for the win. Thomas pitched two innings of one hit ball and struck out three of the six batters faced.
Matt Swarmer started for Eugene and pitched a fine game, notching five innings of four hit ball with six strikeouts but the lack of run production until after his appearance left him with a no decision. Casey Ryan and Brian Glowicki (S, 2) both made a one inning appearance keeping the home team hitless. Glowicki pitched the ninth for the save.
The low scoring was due to more than just fine pitching. Not only was it an errorless game but there was plenty of fine fielding as well. Eudy Ramos, who made the switch to first base tonight, smothered several bouncers low in the dirt saving the out. Bryan Araiza protected right field with a seemingly wide range snagging several long flies on the run.
But, in the end, it was the Hops’ bats that decided the game. Failing to deliver on four runners in scoring position, they left a total of six men on base. They had plenty of chances for the evening. Bryan Araiza singled in the first and stole second before being stranded on third. Tra Holmes walked in the second and Dan Swain’s double put both runners into scoring position with two outs before a fly ball to left ended the threat.
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (15-14) one game behind the division lead. The win kept the Eugene Emeralds (16-13) tied with the Boise Hawks atop the division, one game ahead. Eugene won the three-game series 2-1.
Hillsboro will travel to play the North Division leading Vancouver Canadians who have the best record in the Northwest league. The Hops will stay for a five-game series. Starting pitchers are expected to be RHP Luis Madero (0-0) making his Hops debut and RHP Juan Nunez (2-1) for the Canadians.
Eugene will come home for a five-game series with the Everett Aquasox.
Hops notes: Luis Madero was assigned to the Hops from the Missoula Osprey Friday. Madero has appeared in five games for a 3-1 record and an ERA of 3.99. His strength is having struck out 28 batters in only 29.1 innings and walked a meager six batters in that time frame.
By Greg Stoker