Facing the highest-drafted pitcher in the Northwest League this season, the Hops got one of their strongest pitching performances of the season.
Three Hops pitchers combined on a one-hit shutout as Hillsboro defeated the Eugene Emeralds 3-0 at Ron Tonkin Field Thursday night.
Jhoan Duran pitched seven innings, allowing the only Eugene hit. The 19-year-old righthander, the youngest pitcher on the Hops roster, struck out five batters with one walk. Breckin Williams retired the side in the ninth with two strikeouts to record his second pro save. Luis Castillo provided the bridge to Williams, tossing a scoreless eighth inning.
The Hops scored all three of their runs in the second inning. Cole Thompson, playing his first game back at Hillsboro after a month in the Midwest League at Kane County, singled to lead off the inning. Drew Ellis reached base when his grounder into the hole was bobble by Eugene shortstop Rafael Narea for an error. Daulton Varsho followed with a walk. A wild pitch played Thompson before Tra Holmes served a single into right field to score Ellis and Varsho
Brendon Little, the Chicago Cubs first pick in the draft in June, suffered his first pro loss, allowing all three runs on two hits over a four-inning stint. He retired the side in order in the first, third and fourth innings and the Hops managed just four hits against three Eugene pitchers.
The Hops go for the series clincher Friday night with Tyler Keele starting on the mound. Keele leads all Northwest League starting pitchers with an opponent's batting average of .207. Keele is second in the league in strikeouts.
Brian Wheeler, the play-by-play voice of the Portland Trail Blazers will announce the game on Rip City Radio 620 AM, pregame show at 6:35 PM, first pitch at 7:05. All Hops games are streamed live at www.hillsborohops.com. Friday night's game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet NW with Matt Richert on the play-by-play call.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.