An early lead and solid pitching looked like it would give the Eugene Emeralds their second win a row and a series victory over the Hillsboro Hops in front of 4,056 At PK Park. But it was not to be, as the Hops scored four unanswered runs and took the game 4-2.
It started out promising for the Ems (9-16) when Fernando Kelli was hit by the second pitch of the game. With good speed aboard, manager Steve Lerud took advantage and had Luis Diaz lay down a sacrifice bunt that worked to perfection. One wild pitch later and Kelli was on third with just one out.
Nico Hoerner walked before Jonathan Sierra grounded a ball to the second baseman. Kelli was off on contact and scored easily while Hoerner was safe at second and Sierra was out at first.
Nelson Velazquez then drove the ball to Tra Holmes in left, scoring Hoerner and giving the Ems a 2-0 lead. Velezquez was thrown out on the play trying to reach second base.
Ryan Williams (1-4) looked dominate to start the game, allowing just three baserunners through the first four innings. But the Hops (17-8) struck in the fifth with a solo homer by Francis Martinez to cut the lead to 2-1.
Williams hit Ryan January with a pitch before getting Keshawn Lynch to pop out. A single by Holmes moved January to third when a Jorge Perez sac fly scored January to tie the game at 2-2. Holmes then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error from catcher Jonathan Soto.
Holmes scored when Jose Caballero bunted down the third base line and it stayed fair, giving the Hops the lead at 3-2. Williams got Ryan Tufts to pop out and was done after that. He threw 64 pitches, 44 for strikes, over five innings of work, giving up three runs, two earned, a walk and three strikeouts.
The Hops got one more in the seventh off Ethan Roberts, the third of five pitchers the Ems used. Roberts hit Holmes, and he moved to third on a Perez single. A Caballero groundout scored Holmes and made it a 4-2 game.
The inning before in the sixth, Riley McCauley gave up two hits, a walk, and strikeout. Jake Steffens pitched a perfect eighth and Luis Aquino gave up just one hit in the ninth.
After an off day on Tuesday, the Ems are back in action on Wednesday in Spokane. The Ems return home next Monday on July 16th for Sherk Night. Tickets can be purchased at emeraldsbaseball.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.