EVERETT, WASH. --- Hillsboro Hops center fielder Tra (pronounced "trey") Holmes hit a go-ahead double in the top of the eighth inning on Sunday evening at Everett Memorial Stadium, scoring Ryan Dobson and putting Hillsboro up 3-2. Wesley Rodriguez pitched around a single and an error in the bottom of the 9th, and the 3-2 win kept the Hops undefeated (3-0) in 2018.
Hillsboro scored first in the top of the second inning on a Francis Martinez double and a Ryan Tufts sacrifice fly, but Everett tied it in the bottom of the inning when an error set the table and the Sox's Jake Anchia smoked one off the left-field wall to score Ronald Rosario.
Everett's Connor Kopach --- playing in his first professional game --- homered off Hops starter Franklyn Soriano leading off the third, giving the Aquasox their first lead of the season; however, it would be short-lived. The Hops tied it in the next half-inning on Martinez's second homer of the season --- a long blast just to the right of straightaway center. The home run came batting right-handed, and the 6'4", 250 lb. first baseman has homered from each side of the plate over the last two games.
The game remained tied at two into the sixth inning. A pair of Hops right-handers made their professional debuts in relief of Soriano. Kyler Stout pitched around a bunt single and a hit batsman to work a scoreless fifth, but then walked back-to-back hitters with one out in the sixth. Ethan Larrison came in and struck out the first pro batter he faced, Nick Rodriguez, on three pitches.
Then came the key play of the game. Kopach got jammed on an 0-2 pitch and looped it to shallow center. Tufts, the Hops' second baseman, raced back and made a jumping back-handed grab while looking up into the sun. The game was still tied.
Larrison worked a scoreless seventh, and earned the win in his first pro game when the Hops scored in the 8th. Dobson walked and scored from first on Holmes' two-bagger, though Holmes was thrown out at third to end the inning.
Rafael Pujols flashed an excellent change-up to strike out two in a 1-2-3 eighth. Wesley Rodriguez allowed a one-out tap single in the 9th to Kopach, and when Rodriguez threw the ball away Kopach was at second base. But Rodriguez got Connor Hoover on a fly out to left, and retired Onil Pena on a come-backer to end it. It was Rodriguez's second save of the year.
Hillsboro and Everett will square off in the fourth game of the five-game series on Monday night at 7:05 at Everett Memorial Stadium. The radio pregame show begins at 6:35 PM on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620AM and at www.ripcityradio.com.
NOTES: Tra Holmes double extended his hitting streak to seven games dating back to the end of the 2017 season. … Hillsboro left just one man on base, while Everett stranded 10. … The Hops clinched the series, meaning they have now won five consecutive series at Everett Memorial Stadium; Hillsboro is 17-11 all-time at Everett.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.