Everett Aquasox, Ivan Fortunato Strike Out Hillsboro Hops 7-5
Neither team could leave the other behind until the Everett Aquasox’s bullpen shut the Hillsboro Hops bats down, winning 7-5. Jamal Wade, Dayeison Arias and Joey Gerber combined to keep the Hops hitless for the last five innings and struck out nine Hops batters while walking none.
Ironically, Ivan Fortunato (1-0) pitched three innings allowing all five Hops runs and still earned the win. When Fortunato left the mound for the night, he left with the Aquasox up 6-5. When relief arrived, shutting the visiting team down for the night, it froze the Hops’ scoring leaving Fortunato the winner. Joey Gerber (S-1) earned the save by pitching the ninth in three up and three down fashion, aided by two strikeouts. Everett pitchers struck out 14 batters for the night.
Jayson McKinley (0-1) started for the Hops going four innings and allowing six earned runs for the loss. Hops relief came close to saving the night but they came into the game down by one run and allowed one more. With the Hops bats unable to deliver the lead back, a comeback was out of reach. Kai-Wei Lin and Luis Castillo allowed one run on three hits over the last four innings.
Ryan Tufts and Jose Caballero both sent respective home runs past the left field fence. Tuft’s was in the second inning and was responsible for three runs and the Hillsboro Hops’ first lead of the game (3-1). Andy Yerzy was on base with his third double of the season. Ryan January joined him with a walk. After Everett took the lead back with three runs of their own, Caballero joined the scoring opening the third with his solo shot tying the game at 4-4.
Jorge Perez hustled around the bases for his score in the fourth. Perez singled, moved to second when Tra’Mayne Holmes was hit by a pitch and then stole third. He finally came home on a wild pitch by Ivan Fortunato for the Hops’ final lead of the night, 5-4. On the night, Jorge Perez went 2 for 3.
Everett offered a couple of home runs of their own. Jansiel Rivera opened the bottom of the second with a solo blast to right. Josh Stowers followed in the fourth with a two-run shot to left after Connor Kopach doubled with two outs . Kopach was the tying run and Stowers scored the go ahead, and eventually, the winning run.
With the loss, the Hillsboro Hops (3-2) joined the rest of the Southern Division in a four-way tie from top to bottom. With the win, the Everett Aquasox (2-3) also joined a four-way tie in the Northern Division. Hillsboro won the season opening series 3-2.
Hillsboro comes home for a three game series hosting the Eugene Emeralds. The series is a repeat of last year’s match to determine the Southern Division champion in the playoffs. Eugene won that series 2-0 earning the right to face the Vancouver Canadians for the league title. Vancouver won the title 3-1. Eury Ramos is scheduled to start for the Emeralds Wednesday night. Hillsboro has yet to determine their starter.
Everett travels to face the defending champion Vancouver Canadians, for a three game series of their own. Neither team has determined their starting pitchers yet.