Hillsboro Hops Drop Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 7-2
Last night brought the fireworks. Tonight was the thunder. The Hillsboro Hops’ bats thundered through the first four innings downing the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 7-2.
Zach Nehrir led off the bottom of the first, knocking his first pitch into center field for a single. Dane McFarlane followed with a walk, moving Nehrir over to second. Stephen Dezzi stepped up and poked a single through the left side of the infield to load the bases. The fans felt deja vu when Volcanoes starting pitcher Logan Webb walked Josh Anderson on four straight pitches, bringing Nehrir across the plate. Last night’s game ended with an RBI walk as well.
Fernery Ozuna knocked a sacrifice fly that scored McFarlane from third. Dezzi slipped over to third and the Hops had runners on the corners with one out. Gerard Hernandez followed with a sacrifice fly of his own that brought Dezzi home. The Hops were up 3-0 to start the game.
The Hillsboro Hops enjoyed the three-run lead until the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes answered in the top of the fourth. Chase Compton smacked a stand-up double between the center and right field gap off of Hops starting pitcher Jared Miller. Miguel Gomez singled to left moving Compton to third. When Shilo McCall sacrificed, Compton scored and cut the lead to 3-1.
No one knew that the 3-1 lead would have held through the game. To be sure, the Hops added some insurance in the bottom of the fourth just a few minutes later.
Sergio Alcatara led off with a sharp grounder to the second baseman, Richard Amion, who made an amazing grab. stretching out over the ground and preventing it from going into the outfield. But, it was all for naught when a wild throw past Compton at first baseman let Alcatara reach the bag. Nehrir singled past Compton. Alcatara slid into third on the long throw from right field. Dezzi slammed a double down the left field line easily scoring Alcatara. Nehrir hustled all the way from first base to score on the same play.
Anderson continued the onslaught with a single to left field and moved Dezzi to third. Ozuna added one more blow. Dezzi scored when Ozuna hit into a fielder’s choice forcing Anderson out 3-6 at second base. When Gerard Hernandez came to the plate, Ozuna stole second but Henderson hit a grounder to second baseman Richard Amion and was thrown out at first to end the inning. The Hops were now up 6-1 and feeling confidant on the night.
Hillsboro added one last insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Nehrir led off with a grounder to short and beat the throw to first. Dezzi singled over the leaping outstretched hand of the shortstop Lichtenthaler, barely clearing the infielder’s glove. Nehrir scooted around to third. When left fielder McCall bobbled the ball for only a moment, Nehrir was signaled to continue on home, sliding under the tag of a very close play. Dezzi took second on the throw to home but would not make it any further. Hops up 7-1.
The seventh inning brought a pitching change with Brody Greer replacing Miller. Jared Miller pitched six innings of one run, five hit, two walks and seven strike outs. He later became the winning pitcher with a 1.50 ERA on the night.
The last score of the night was by the Volcanoes in the top of the eighth. Amion slapped a sharp grounder to third baseman Nic Coffman who dropped the ball when trying to throw to first. Amion then took off for second during the next batter, Gomez. Catcher Nate Irving made a good throw but Amion was able to slide into second safely. After the steal, Gomez singled up the middle and Amion sprinted home. The game ended with 7-2 victory for the Hops.
Jared Miller is now 2-0 on the season with tonight’s win. The Volcanoes Logan Webb (0-1) took the loss.
For the Volcanoes, Miguel Gomez went 3 for 4 and had one RBI in a strong showing. He is batting .400 to start the season. Brennan Metzger went 2 for 5.
For the Hops, Zach Nehrir continued his torrid pace showing promise for a bright future. He went 4 for 4 on the night, scoring three runs. For the season, he is batting .524. Stephen Dezzi also showed promise going 3 for 4, scoring two runs and earning two RBI. He is batting .455 on the season.
The Hillsboro Hops (4-3) and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (3-4) end the three game stand tomorrow night with the Hops leading 2-0.
by Greg Stoker