Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Takes Game 1 Over Hillsboro Hops, 4-2
The Hillsboro Hops stayed close in a tight game but weren’t able to hold on, losing to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 4-2 in the first game of the playoffs. Volcano starter Michael Connelly (1-0) spread nine hits over six innings and allowed two runs for the win. Caleb Smith relieved Connelly in the seventh and pitched two perfect innings. Ryan Halstead (S-1) pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
The Volcanoes drew first blood in the bottom of the first. With runners at the corners, Miguel Gomez sent a sacrifice to right field giving Ronnie Jebavy the chance to score from third.
The game would go back and forth the rest of the night. In the next inning, the Hops knotted the game at 1-1 when Luis Veras hustled all the way home from second on a Nate Robertson single to right. The Hops took the lead a couple of innings later when Veras scored from third on a Gerard Hernandez
sacrifice fly to center fielder Ronnie Jebavy.
The lead wouldn’t last long for the Hops. In the bottom of the inning, the Volcanoes scored two runs to overtake the Hops and regain the lead. Chris Shaw scored the tying run from third on a fielding error by shortstop Dansby Swanson. Jose Vizcaino scored the go ahead (and eventual winning) run from third on a sacrifice bunt from Fernando Pujados.
The Volcanoes added an insurance run in the fifth on a wild pitch by Hops Cody Reed scoring Steven Duggar from third.
Cody Reed (0-1) started for the Hops tonight allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits over five innings for the loss. Breckin Williams and Ariel Hernandez pitched three innings of perfection to stop the bleeding and finish the game.
Jose Vizcaino, Jr., went 2 for 3, scored the winning run, had a double and an RBI. Christopher Shaw went 2 for 4 and scored a run. Ronnie Jebavy and Steven Duggar also scored a run. Miguel Gomez, Byron Murray and Fernando Pujados earned an RBI. Vizcaino’s double was the only extra base hit for the Volcanoes.
The Hops had nine hits with Luis Veras leading the way. Veras went 3 for 4 and scored twice. Nate Robertson went 2 for 4 and hit a double with an RBI. Gerard Hernandez had the other RBI. The Hops did manage three extra base hits – all doubles. Besides Robertson, Zach Nehrir and Alexis Olmeda had the other two doubles.
Both teams will come to Hillsboro on Tuesday for the second game of the three game series. The Volcanoes can eliminate the Hops in the second game. A third game on Wednesday will be necessary if the Hops stay alive and tie the series on Tuesday.
Tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday are on sale at the box office and hillsborohops.com.
Playoff notes: In the North Division, the first game between the Everett Aquasox and Tri-City Dust Devils went 16 innings ending after midnight. The Dust Devils won 2-1. Kodie Tidwell knocked in both runs for the Dust Devils, one in the seventh and the other in the 16th. The series will now go to the Tri-Cities for a game on Tuesday (and Wednesday if necessary).
By Greg Stoker