Sean Roby Scores, Eugene Emeralds Over Hops 5-1
Sean Roby scores the first of his two runs in the first inning, not knowing that would be enough for the win eight innings later. The Eugene Emeralds went on to score three more runs in the game to defeat the visiting Hillsboro Hops 5-1 in the first game of their six-game series.
Sean Roby Scores First Inning
Behind 1-0 after the Hops Ricky Martinez swatted a solo shot to give the Hops their only lead of the night, Will Wilson walked in the bottom of the first. A Sean Roby single moved Wilson over to third where he scored on a passed ball from Hops catcher Nick Dalesandro to tie the game.
The same passed ball also moved Sean Roby over to second. From there, a Logan Wyatt RBI single brought Sean home for what would be the winning run. However, that doesn’t mean the Hops didn’t get close after that. The Hops smacked eight hits to the Ems seven but the Ems knew how to use them more efficiently. Like most high scoring teams, when one Ems hit, others usually followed.
The most telling stat of offensive efficiency is the LOB stat. Left on Base refers to the runners left stranded on base after an inning is over. The more runners you leave behind, the more scores you didn’t bring home. Looking at this game, the Hops scored one run but left six runners behind without a score. They also had three runners picked off, erased by a double play or caught stealing which decreased the efficiency. One out of eleven is a .090 percentage of runners on base scoring. It should be higher than that as the season continues but everyone will get a game like this.
Eugene, on the other hand, had a more efficient night at the plate. The Ems scored five times and only left four runners behind without a score. They also had three base runners erased by a double play. Five out of twelve base runners scored. A percentage of 42% is much better than 9%. That is why Eugene easily beat the Hops tonight despite hitting less.
How Many Runners Does it Take to Win?
Some of that can be tweaked with stats like walks, intentional walks (not tonight), batter hit by a pitch (thankfully not tonight), reaching first on a strikeout and a passed ball or wild pitch (not tonight), etc. Anything that can get you more runners on base. Tonight, Eugene did better getting runners on those bases (12-11). Coupled with Eugene’s better efficiency scoring, you get a 5-1 win.
That is also why the game didn’t appear closer. In order for the Hops to win tonight, they needed 66 base runners. I have never seen both teams together have that many in one game. Last week against the Dust Devils, the Hops only had 53 base runners for the entire week. Granted, they only played five games due to the rain.
Pitching can have something to do with it as well. Tonight, Ems starting pitcher Connor Nurse (W, 1-3) never faced more than four batters in one inning. The Hops lone run, Ricky Martinez in the third inning, came from a home run. Since there were no base runners at the time, it became a solo shot. Nurse did not strike out a ton of Hops. He did strike out three for his five innings. But, he also kept the ball in play where his teammates could handle it.
For his five innings, Hops batters grounded out five times and flew out or popped up six. It takes some underrated pitching to keep the ball playable on the field. But, there is an easy way to find them. Just look at their ERA. Tonight, Nurse pitched to a 1.80 ERA. Reliever Jasier Herrera (H, 1) and closer Chris Wright both pitched 0.00 ERAs.
That is why won-loss records can’t tell you as well as to how well the pitcher did as the ERA does. It is more about efficiency than end results. Tonight, the Hops starting pitcher, Kenny Hernandez (L, 2-1), pitched the same five innings as Connor Nurse did. But, in his five innings, Kenny pitched to a 7.20 ERA.
Sean Roby Scores Again
The other runs scored by the Ems came in the third, fifth and sixth innings. Each one at a time. Ismael Munguia singled in the third and came home on a double play. Franklin Labour led off the fifth with a walk and scored on Brandon Martorano’s sac fly. And finally, Sean Roby scores with a lead-off the double in the sixth and Logan Wyatt’s RBI single.
The win kept the Eugene Emeralds in step with Everett at 1.5 games behind the top. The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops to six games behind Everett. Both teams meet again in PK Park for game two of the series. Eugene leads early 1-0. Game time is 7:05 PM. You can catch it on MiLB.tv or listen to it on 620 AM.
My latest look back is up and about weeks four and five. My look back at week six will be up before next Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it.