Hillsboro Hops, Jhoan Duran Blank Eugene Emeralds 3-0
The Hillsboro Hops kept the Eugene Emeralds scoreless 3-0 in the win Thursday night. The victory, coupled with the loss by the Boise Hawks, moved the Hops back into a three-way tie for first place in the Southern Division. The Hops only needed one run but they scored all three in the second inning.
Before the first out was recorded in the Hops’ half of the inning, Hillsboro loaded the bases on Cole Thompson’s single, Drew Ellis reaching on a fielding error and Daulton Varsho’s walk. Tra’Mayne Holmes stepped up to the plate and watched Emerald’s pitcher, Brendon Little, toss a wild one to the plate allowing Thompson to score. All of this before Holmes’ single cleared the bases of Ellis and Varsho.
The rest of the game was as desolate as the Mojave Desert when it came to runs by either team. The Emerald’s pitching staff kept the Hops batters limited to four hits on the night. In addition to the second inning, Luis Lara singled in the sixth but was erased by a double play. Varsho add his ground-rule double in the eighth but never made it to third.
The Hops pitching staff did even better keeping Eugene down to two hits to go with the shutout. Starter Jhoan Duran’s (W, 4-2) chances for a no-hitter was taken away early in the third by Jose Gonzalez’ single to start the inning. Duran sailed through the first seven innings on only 70 pitches striking out five and walking one for the win.
Luis Castillo relieved in the eighth and immediately gave up the Emerald’s second and last hit of the night when Michael Cruz singled to lead off the inning. Castillo quickly got Ramsey Romano to dart a line drive for shortstop Camden Duzenack to smother. Gonzalez then grounded into a double play and the inning was over.
Breckin Williams (S, 2) closed out the ninth for the save by striking out two and getting the other batter to ground out.
Brendon Little (L, 0-1) started for the Emeralds and weathered the three-run storm by the Hops lasting through four innings for the loss. Erich Uelmen came on in the fifth for three more innings and gave up the other two Hops hits of the night before Jake Steffans came on for the final inning.
The Hillsboro Hops (10-12) evened the three-games series with the Eugene Emeralds (10-12). Both teams return to the rubber game of the match Friday night on Ron Tonkin Field. Expected starters are RHP Javier Assad (3-5) for the Emeralds and RHP Tyler Keele (4-4) for the Hops.
Hops notes: Arizona released former Hops outfielder Billy Endris Thursday. Billy was drafted in the 35th round of the 2016 draft out of Florida Atlantic. Endris played 51 games for Hillsboro and the Missoula Osprey in 2016. His average was .239 to go with five home runs and 19 RBIs. In 2017, Billy played 23 games for the Hops before being promoted to the Kane County Cougars. There he played another 22 games. His totals for this year added up to .258/2/20. Billy Endris is now a free agent and is able to sign with any team.
By Greg Stoker