Eugene, OR - A big first inning for the Emeralds got them started on the right foot, but a six spot in the second derailed their momentum and the Hops took game one 9-4 in front of 3,689 at PK Park.
After escaping a bases loaded, two-out jam in the top of the first inning, the Emeralds (2-3, 23-20) started the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles by Jhonny Bethencourt and Jared Young. Two quick outs brought Gustavo Polanco to the plate, and the NWL All-Star delivered a base hit to right field, scoring Bethencourt.
Michael Cruz then continued his hot hitting, lacing a triple that center fielder Jorge Perez dove at but missed and scored Young and Polanco making it a 3-0 game.
Those three runs were quickly erased in the top of the second inning after the Hops (4-1, 26-17) capitalized on a bad mental play by the Ems.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Bryan Araiza hit a high pop fly that didn't leave the infield but fell between the shortstop and third baseman, allowing the runner from second to score.
Ems starter Jose Albertos (1-1, 4.63 ERA) could not shake the miscue, allowing four runs to score and another one crossing home after he was relieved by Jesus Camargo, who had a run scored on him in the inning as well.
Hillsboro scored three more times in fourth to make it a 9-3 game and all but put it away, though the Ems had their chances. In the fourth they loaded the bases with one out, but Luis Castillo got Bethencourt and Young to strike out to end the inning.
In the sixth inning, the Ems got a run closer after Cruz hit his fourth homer of the year, giving him three RBI on the night, making it a 9-4 game. Eugene got runner to second and third with just one out, but another pair of strikeouts ended the inning.
Elvis Diaz and Luis Aquino finished out the game, with Diaz going 3.1 innings, giving up two runs and striking out four while Aquino went one inning and gave up one hit with a strikeout.
The series continues Saturday as Javier Assad (1-4, 4.29 ERA) goes for the Ems and Tyler Keele (3-3, 3.05 ERA) starts for the Hops. Get your tickets online at emeraldsbaseball.com or calling the box office at 541-342-5367.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.