Hillsboro Hops, Bryan Valdez Shut Down Eugene Emeralds, 4-2
The Eugene Emeralds started the game with two runs in the first inning. The Hillsboro Hops finished the game with four runs the rest of the way to take the win, 4-2. Once the visitor’s bats opened up and got past the two run deficit, pitching shut the Emeralds down. Bryan Valdez (W, 2-0) got the win.
Jackson Goddard started for the Hops and allowed both Emeralds runs. Fernando Kelli, last night’s hero for Eugene, took base after being hit by a pitch from Goddard. Jonathan Sierra’s ground out brought Kelli home. Nelson Velazquez singled home Nico Hoerner for the 2-0 lead.
Bryan Valdez Leaves Mark
Bryan Valdez relieved Goddard at the top of the second and held sway into the fifth. Three runs scored by the Hops during his reign was enough to allow Valdez to leave the mound with the lead. While there, Bryan Valdez struck out five Emerald batters and allowed only two hits and a walk with no runs. The rest of the pitching staff silenced Eugene for good.
There was help from the Hops batters just in case they needed it. In the top of the seventh, Tra Holmes scored on Jose Caballero fielder’s choice. In all, Hops batters accounted for four runs on nine hits. Tra went 2 for 4 and scored two runs. Jose Caballero also went 2 for 4 and knocked in two runs. Five other Hops batters swatted one hit including Francis Martinez, a key part of the three run fifth for the Hops.
Three Run Fifth
Martinez’ sole hit was his fifth home run, this time over the left field wall, to start the fifth inning. Ryan January took a little more circuitous route after he was hit by a pitch. Going to third on Tra Holmes single, Ryan easily scored on the Jorge Perez sacrifice fly to left and tied the game. The go ahead run appeared a couple of minutes later when Tra stole second and took third on a throwing error by catcher Jonathan Soto. Holmes came home on Jose Caballero’s RBI bunt single.
Holding off the Emeralds the rest of the way was the team of West Tunnell, Ethan Larrison and Kyler Stout (S, 1) who got his first save of the season. Together, the three combined for 4.1 innings, no runs on three hits and five strike outs with no walks. Hops pitching struck out ten Emerald batters during the game.
Ryan Williams (L, 1-4) started for Eugene and cruised until the ill-fated, three-run fifth inning. Ryan absorbed the loss after allowing three runs on three hits. Emerald bats managed two runs on four hits.
The Hillsboro Hops (17-8) wins the three game series over the Emeralds (9-16). The win increased the Hops lead at the top of the Southern Division to three games over the Boise Hawks (14-11) and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (14-11). The loss dropped the Eugene Emeralds (9-16) to eight games behind the Hops.
On Tuesday The Northwest League will take the day off for a travel day. Wednesday, the Hops return home to set up shop against the Tri City Dust Devils for five games. After their travel day, Eugene will set up camp at the Spokane Indians home for a five game series on the road.
Check out former Hops alumni in the major leagues.