It was an embarrassment of Richan for the Hillsboro Hops at Eugene's PK Park Thursday night.
Paul Richan, the Chicago Cubs' second-round draft pick out the University Of San Diego, threw four perfect innings with five strikeouts, setting the tone for the Emeralds in a 2-1 win over the Hops (13-8 second half, 37-22 overall).
In the quickest game of the year by far, the Hops and Emeralds combined for just ten total base runners in a game that took a little over two hours to complete. By salvaging the series finale against the Hops, the Emeralds move to within three games of Hillsboro in the Northwest League South Division standings at 10-11 (24-35 overall). Salem Keizer defeated Everett to pick up a game on the Hops, now trailing Hillsboro by two games entering a key three-game series this weekend at Volcanoes Stadium.
Ex-Washington Huskies shortstop Levi Jordan scored both runs for the Emeralds, steaming home from first base on Luis Vazquez's excuse-me double down the left field line in the third inning. Vazquez, fooled on a breaking ball, made a protective half swing and just sneaked the ball inside third base. In the fifth inning, Jordan singled, stole second and scored on D.J. Artis' single to right field.
Both hits came off Hillsboro starting pitcher Luis Frias (0-3), who gave up five hits and no walks with three strikeouts over five innings, his longest start in four outings in the NWL.
Both teams flashed some fancy leather early in the contest. Jake McCarthy led off the game with a line drive over shortstop, but defensive whiz Luis Vazquez showed off his hops, catching the ball at the apex of his leap. In the second inning, first baseman Jake Slaughter made a fine diving stop to his right to rob Andy Yerzy of a leadoff base hit. Perhaps the biggest play of all came in the third when Jorge Perez hit a two-out drive deep to right. Jonathan Sierra made a running catch at the wall that might just have robbed Perez of a home run since the fence out three only comes up to about his waist.
Not to be outdone, McCarthy robbed his former Virginia teammate Andy Weber of a hit in the first inning, making a diving stab of his sinking liner to left center.
McCarthy brought the Hops to within one with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Will Gorman, who led off the sixxth inning with a double. It was the only run the Hops would get in three innings of relief by 6-8 right hander Stephen Ridings (3-1), who retired the last four batters he faced before turning the ball over to Mitch Stophel. The Bluff City, Tennessee native retired the final six Hops, three on strikeouts to record his second save of the year.
Another Tennessee boy made his Hops debut as Travis Moths, a seventh-rounder out of Tennessee Tech, tossed two innings of one-hit scoreless relief, striking out two with one base on balls. Moths hails from Louisville, Tennessee, a small town just outside of Knoxville.
Now 6-2 on the trip with two series wins under their belts, the Hops take on the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes at 6:35 p.m. Friday night in the first game of the weekend series. Live coverage begins at 6:30 on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.