Hillsboro Hops, Riley Smith Blow Past Canadians, 9-2
This time, the Hillsboro Hops started early and it was never close as they left the Vancouver Canadians in the dust, 9-2. The Hops got what they needed in the first inning by scoring three runs but that didn’t stop the onslaught as they added six more insurance runs by the seventh inning.
The damage was done with two outs in the first already on the books. Yan Sanchez walked and then moved over to third on Eudy Ramos’ double. Drew Ellis walked to load the bases and staged a familiar set-up we have seen before. Daulton Varsho cruised to the plate and uncorked a double, clearing the bases for all of what the Hops would need for the night.
No one told the Hops to take it easy. Showing favoritism for odd-numbered innings, two more runs came in the third. After another score in the fifth, the Hops made sure there was no more doubt by adding three more runs in the seventh.
Daulton Varsho led the power surge by going 4 for 5 with three doubles, a score and five RBI. Close behind was Drew Ellis who went 2 for 3 with two walks. Ellis contribution included four runs scored, a double, an RBI and a solo blast over left-center to lead off the seventh. They were joined by Camden Duzenack (2 for 5, double) and Tim Susnara (2 for 3, double, score and an RBI) for the other multi-hit games.
Riley Smith (W, 3-2) contributed a quality start by another Hops pitcher lasting through six innings giving up a run in the fifth and limiting the Canadians to five hits. Smith was followed by Luis Castillo who contributed two hitless innings.
Pierce Romero started the ninth but was relieved after giving up four walks and earning only two outs. The Canadians second and final run of the night plated when Romero balked with the bases loaded. Cal Becker came on to face one batter, inducing Reggie Pruitt to ground out to short stop Camden Duzenack.
Vancouver was limited to five hits for the game. Right fielder Brock Lundquist had the only multi-hit game for the Canadians going 2 for 3 with a double. Brody Rodning (L, 0-1) started and was pulled in the third inning after the Hops pelted a 3-0 lead.
With the win, the Hillsboro Hops (18-14) kept pace with the streaking Eugene Emeralds, one game behind the Southern Division leaders. Despite the loss, the Vancouver Canadians (18-14) maintained their two-game lead over the Tri City Dust Devils atop the Northern Division.
Both teams return to Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday night for game four of the five-game series. The Hops have already won the series and lead by 3-0.
Hops notes: When this series started three games ago, the Canadians had the best record in the Northwest League. Hillsboro is now tied with Vancouver in record and Eugene now has the best record by one game over the Canadians, Hops and the Boise Hawks.
The Hops had 12 hits on the night with eight of them being doubles. They were joined by a solo home run and three singles.
By Greg Stoker