Ninth Inning Rally Gives Hillsboro Hops 6-2 Win Over Tri-City Dust Devils
The Hillsboro Hops turned the tables on the Tri-Cities Dust Devils, winning 6-2. Instead of the Dust Devils erupting for a commanding lead late in the game, it was the Hops who exploded for five runs in the ninth.
The ninth started out with an Alexis Olmeda hard line drive down the third base line and into the corner for a stand-up double. Trevor Mitsui singled up the middle to put runners at the corners. New addition Jake Peevyhouse came in to pinch run for Mitsui. Louis Veras drove a strong hit through the left center gap and to the warning track to drive both Olmeda and Peevyhouse home to take the lead, 3-2. Veras fell between second and third but got up and made it the third base safely on a triple. The Hops weren’t finished.
Stephen Dezzi sacrificed to left field deep enough to score Veras. Nate Robertson bounced a deep hit off the left field fence for a stand up double. Sergio Alcantara singled to right bringing Robertson home. Alcantara slid into second on the late throw to the plate.
That was enough to chase Luis Hernandez and bring Louis Distasio to the mound. Galli Cribbs hit to third baseman Carlos Belen for an infield single, putting runners at the corners. Fernery Ozuna hit a sharp liner to right scoring Alcantara for the final score of 6-2.
The Hops sent 10 men to the plate, hit safely seven times including three doubles and a triple. Before the final inning, the Hops had only two hits in the game.
Carlos Hernandez started for the Hops. Coming into the game, he had a chance to extend his scoreless streak of 26 innings. The fifty-year-old record was 32. The plan was to hold him to 60 pitches since he is pitching in the all star game on Tuesday. The question was would 60 pitches last six innings to tie or would he have to wait until after the All-Star break?
The question was answered in the first inning when the Dust Devils scored two runs on Hernandez. It was the first time anyone scored on Hernandez since July 12th. Justin Pacchioli hit a one bounce single to center field. With Peter Van Gansen at the plate, Carlos Herndez attempted to pick off Pacchioli off first. The throw went wide and Pacchioli scooted all the way to third. Jose Carlos Urena slapped a quick single to left scoring Pacchioli for Urena’s league leading 38th RBI.
The Dust Devils weren’t finished. Kodie Tidwell slapped a chopper towards the mound. Fernery Ozuna came charging hard and tried to tag Urena as he went by. Ozuna missed and did not have a throw to first for the final out of the inning. Mason Smith followed with a single up the middle that scored Urena. The Dust Devils scored no more in the game and their last hit came in the fourth
That ended Carlos Hernandez’ scoring streak but he did have one more record to work on. Coming in to the game, Hernandez was tied for the Hops’ mark of 60 strikeouts in one season. In three short innings, Hernandez added three more strike outs to his season total and the Hops are just now reaching the All-Star break. With thirty games left to play, it remains to be seen how far Hernandez will leave the old record behind.
The Hops did inch back with one run in the second. To lead off, Trevor Mitsui walked on a 9-pitch full count. Luis Veras poked a single through the right side. Stephen Dezzi hit into a 4-6-3 double play but Mitsui went over to third. Nate Robertson walked on a full count. Robertson’s fourth ball in the walk proved to be a wild pitch to the backstop scoring Mitsui.
The Hops used seven pitchers over nine innings. Ryan Burr (3-0) pitched the eighth with no runs on no hits with two strike outs for the win. As a team, Hops pitchers combined for two runs on five hits with three walks and 12 strike outs.
The Dust Devils also used seven pitchers for the game. Luis Hernandez (1-4) pitched the first two thirds of the ninth inning for the loss. Hernandez allowed five runs on five hits.
For the Hops, Alexis Olmeda and Luis Veras went 2 for 4, both scoring a run. Olmeda had a double. Veras had a triple and two RBI. Trevor Mitsui and Nate Robertson both went 1 for 3 and scored a run. Robertson’s hit was a double.
The Hillsboro Hops (3-4) climbed into a tie with Boise and remains two games behind Salem-Keizer in the South. The Tri City Dust Devils (4-3) maintained their one game lead in the North. The remaining three teams are tied for second, one game behind the Dust Devils.
Both teams finished their five game series with the Dust Devils taking it 3-2. Now the league takes a break for the All Star Game on Tuesday The Hops had four players nominated for the honor: Jared Miller, Carlos Hernandez, Cody Reed and Zach Nehrir. It looks like Nehrir will miss the game due to a sprained left wrist and Cody Reed is doubtful due to an injury. Jared Miller will start.
Tri-City will send two of their players to the all-star game: shortstop Peter Van Gansen and LHP Elvin Liriano.
Look for a report on the All-Star game come Wednesday morning.
By Greg Stoker