Scoring just one run in their last 26 innings, the Ems could not get the offense going for the second straight game against the Hillsboro Hops, until the ninth when they got three hits and scored four times to take down the Hops 4-3 in front of 4,928 at PK Park.
Entering the ninth down by three, the Ems (9-15) shortstop Nico Hoerner worked a full count and walked to begin the inning. Jonathan Sierra worked another full count off Hops (16-8) reliever Wesley Rodriquez (3-1) and singled to center, moving Hoerner to third.
Christopher Morel hit a sac fly to left, scoring Hoerner to make it a 3-1 game. Tyler Durna followed that up with a long drive to the left field corner. After the ball landed, Hops left fielder Jorge Perez held up his hands and the home plate umpire Ray Patchen called a ground-rule-double.
Hops Manager Shaun Roof was not happy with the call, and let Patchen know it before getting tossed from the game. After play resumed, Gustavo Polanco smacked a ball that went over the head of the right fielder and bounced over the wall for his second double of the night, scoring Sierra and Durna to tie the game at 3-3.
Fernando Kelli replaced Polanco and Kai-Wei Lin replaced Rodriquez. With Jonathan Soto at the plate, the Ems were looking for their first walk-off victory, but got it in the most unexpected way.
Lin's first pitch out the bullpen went in the dirt and scooted away from catcher Andy Yerzy and moved Kelli to third. On the next pitch, Lin once again threw it in the dirt, bouncing it into the sky and off the net to allow Kelli to score easily and give the Ems a 4-3 victory.
It started off shaky for the Ems with Jose Albertos getting into trouble early. He managed to escape a lead-off single by Ryan Dobson in the first with a fly out by Perez when Dobson was trying to steal, completing the double play.
The Hops got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third. After a ground out to start the inning, Albertos walked back-to-back Hops. A double steal and hit batter later loaded the bases. A wild pitch with Yerzy at the plate scored the runner at third, but Ems catcher Soto pounced on the ball quickly and got the runner going to second for the second out.
That out proved useful after Yerzy singled to score Perez, making it a 2-0 game. After another single, Albertos got Jake McCarthy to ground out and end the inning.
Albertos was done shortly after, completing four innings and giving up four hits, two runs, two walks, two hit batters and five strikeouts in his longest outing of the year.
The Hops added another run in the sixth off reliever Yan De La Cruz. Joey Rose doubled to start the inning, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on a double by Francis Martinez to make it a 3-0 game.
Eugenio Palma came in for the final three innings and picked up his first win of the year. He gave up one hit, three walks, and four strikeouts.
The final game of the series starts tomorrow at 7:05 pm. Ryan Williams starts for fifth time this year for the Ems while the Hops will counter with Jackson Goddard. Gates open at 6 pm and proceeds from each ticket purchased will go toward the McKenzie River Trust.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.