Hillsboro Hops Bats, Alex Gouin’s 11 Strikeouts Tarnish Emeralds 10-2
Just in case there was any doubt at all, the Hillsboro Hops thought it prudent to add another run or two in the ninth to their 4-2 lead. Their biggest problem was not being able to say no to just one or two. They always wanted just one more again and again. After the dust settled, the Eugene Emeralds faced an eight run deficit and only three outs to make it happen. Three Emerald batters and three outs later, the Hillsboro Hops had demolished the Eugene Emeralds 10-2.
Despite the major explosion in the ninth, Hillsboro only managed three hits to score the six runs. They were also helped by three walks, a wild pitch and one batter hit by a pitch.
Luke Lowery led off the ninth inning with a walk and stole second, scoring on Luis Veras’ fielder’s choice. Veras made it to second on an error and third with a wild pitch, scoring on a line drive single to left by Jose Queliz. Connor Owings walked, went to second on Queliz’ single, third on Manny Jefferson’s infield single and scored on Sergio Alcantara’s force out, 4-3. With the bases loaded, Justin Chigbogu stepped to the plate and hit a hard grounder through the left-center gap. An error by the left fielder allowed all three base runners to score while Chigbogu ended up at second.
It took a while for the dust to settle and the official scorekeeper to catch up. Before the ninth, it was still a close game. The first inning was a smaller version of the ninth. There were three walks and a batter hit by a pitch to help the Hops with one single to score two runs. Manny Jeferson scored when Justin Chigbogu walked with the bases loaded. Marcus Wilson cracked a line drive single scoring Sergio Alcantara.
The Emeralds got one run back in the bottom when Yeiler Peguero scored off of Jose Paniagua’s infield single. Eugene tied it the following inning on Robert Garcia’s triple with Trent Giambrone on base.
The game remained tied until the fifth when the Hops took the lead for good as Josh Anderson homered with Manny Jefferson on board.
Overlooked by the offensive firepower was a fine job by the Hops pitching staff. Alex Gouin (1-0), who hails from Cuba, started and made his Hops and professional debut for the win. If his first appearance is a portent of things to come, Hillsboro is in for a fine season. Gouin allowed two runs on five hits. Alex also stuck out eleven batters against only two walks. Add to that spreading it over a full seven innings.
Kevin Ginkle, who is from the University of Arizona, also made his Hops and professional debut by pitching the eighth allowing one hit and striking out one. Riley Smith, a grizzled veteran by tonight’s standards closed out the ninth facing three batters and striking out two.
The Hops bats did their damage on only seven hits. Manny Jefferson went 2 for 4 and scored three times. Jose Queliz went 2 for 4, scored, doubled and had an RBI. Josh Anderson went 1 for 3, homered, scored twice and knocked in two runs. Justin Chigbogu had only one hit but made it count by clearing the bases for three RBIs. Marcus Wilson went 1 for 2, earning an RBI.
Pedro Silverio (1-1) started for Eugene and was chased in the fifth after allowing four runs on four hits for the loss. Michael Knighton and Wyatt Short seemed to quiet down the Hops for three innings. Scott Frazier came on to close but was relieved after two batters when he had walked them both. Both batters would later score. M.T. Minacci came on instead and was battered and bruised for four runs (three earned) on three hits
The Hillsboro Hops (11-13) gained a game on the South Division leading Eugene Emeralds (17-7) and a half game on second place Salem-Keizer (11-12).
Both teams meet tomorrow night for the third and final game with the series tied at 1-1.
Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig Mitchelldyer
By Greg Stoker