Michael Cruz, Eugene Emeralds Take First Playoff Game from Hillsboro Hops, 3-2
The Eugene Emeralds took their first lead in the eighth inning and walked away with the win, 3-2. It gave the home team a 1-0 lead in the first-round series between the two southern division teams.
Matt Peacock (L, 0-1) came on to close out the game with a 2-2 tie at the beginning of the eighth for the loss. After striking out Austin Filiere, Peacock walked Michael Cruz who moved over to third on a single by Will Remillard. After another strikeout, Cruz scored on a single by Gustav Polanco. Their first lead of the game proved to be the game-winning score.
Randall Delgado, who came to the Hops on a rehab assignment the day before, started the game and showed his major league experience as Eugene went three up and three down on a pop out to shortstop, a ground out to first base and a fly out to left field. All on seven pitches, six that were strikes. Delgado was limited to one inning due to the injury rehab.
Brian Shaffer, who was originally scheduled to start, came on for three innings on one hit relief, striking out six. The beginning four innings of shut-out ball would have left the Hops in a pleasant place on the scoreboard was it not for the same excellent pitching by the Eugene staff.
Jose Albertos started for the Emeralds and lasted almost six innings on 73 pitches. Albertos gave up the only two runs the Hops would score over the fifth and sixth innings on five hits. Jake Steffans (W, 1-0) was the pitcher of record in the eighth when the Emeralds scored the go ahead run for the win.
The game’s first score didn’t appear until the fifth inning when Drew Ellis opened with a solo home run to left field. Before that, Hillsboro only had Tra’Mayne Holmes third inning lead-off single to show for offense. The only other extra base hit for the Hops was Luis Lara’s double in the sixth scoring Ryan Grotjohn.
Lara would figure in the final inning. The speedy base runner bounced what appeared to be an inflield single off of the pitcher Jake Steffans. Second baseman Jared Young snared the rebound and quickly tossed to first baseman Polanco for the out. Hops manager Shawn Roof, who believed that his designated hitter had beaten the throw, stormed out. It didn’t take long for Roof to be ejected from the game.
Game two will be played at Ron Tonkin Field at 7:05pm Thursday night. Expected pitchers are RHP Jesus Camargo (3-1) for the Emeralds and RHP Tyler Badamo (1-2) for the Hops. Camargo last faced the Hops on July 28th giving up three runs on three hits over three innings, walking four and striking out three for a no decision. Tyler Badamo last faced Eugene on August 16th giving up three runs on ten hits over 7.2 innings for the loss. Tyler struck out seven batters to go with no walks.
Hops notes: The air quality improved enough over yesterday’s postponement to allow the game to be played at PK Park Wednesday night. While the delay helped the Emeralds save a home game, it may have pushed the first round back to back with the second round with no break if the first-round series goes the full three games.
By Greg Stoker