Four Hops pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout Sunday as Hillsboro defeated the Everett AquaSox 3-0 to win their fourth consecutive game in the series.
The four wins in a row is a season-high and moves the Hops to within a game of first-place Eugene in the Northwest League South Division standings at 10-8.
Jhoan Duran rebounded from a rockly last start at Eugene to pitch five innings of one-hit ball for the win. Duran struck out two, walked three and hit one, allowing only one runner to reach second base.
Kevin Ginkel pitched around a leadoff single and a walk in the sixth, getting Everett catcher Juan Camacho to strike out on a check-swing to end the inning. Upset at the call, Camacho would be ejected during the home half of the sixth.
Cal Becker retired all six batters he faced, striking out the side in the seventh. Erbert Gonzalez retired the side in order in the ninth, notching his third save of the season and second in as many nights.
The Hops staked Duran to an early lead, striking for two runs in the first inning off Everett starter Randy Bell, making his second pro start. Camden Dusenack led off the inning with a bloop single, but was retired when Yan Sanchez's one-out grounder deflected off his foot on the way to second base. Pavin Smith followed with a bloop double down the left field line before Drew Ellis plated both Sanchez and Ellis with another double to left, the first professional extra-base hit for the second-round draft pick from Louisville.
Everett starter Randy Bell was only expected to throw 35 pitches. After allowing four hits and two runs on 30 pitches in the first inning, Bell returned to strike out the side in the second before giving way to Jose Santiago. Santiago pitched three hitless, scoreless innings before Bryan Araiza led off the sixth inning with a home run to right field, his first of the season.
That was the final hit of the game for both teams as Hillsboro outhit Everett 5-2 and committed no errors.
A capacity crowd is expected for the final game of the series Monday night and a postgame fireworks extravaganza as the Hops go for only their second five-game series sweep in their five-year history. Game time is 7:05 p.m. with pregame airtime at 6:35 p.m. on Rip City Radio 620 AM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.