The Boise Hawks knew they would need a few different pitchers to contribute to get through Monday's series opener with Hillsboro. They probably didn't anticipate needing seven. Nor could they have anticipated needing their closer in the ninth after taking a 7-0 lead to the eighth inning.
A late rally fell just short as the Hops went from trailing by a touchdown to bring the tying run to the plate with none out in the ninthbefore falling 7-5 at Memorial Stadium in Boise Tuesday night.
Hillsboro's Jose Caballero drew a walk with one out in the eighth before Andy Yerzy singled to right and Francis Martinez followed with an RBI double to left center for Hillsboro's first run of the game. Relief pitcher Carlos Polanco hit the next batter Alex King with a pitch before walking pinch-hitter Ryan January with the bases loaded to force in another run. Jefri Valdez came out of the Boise bullpen to put out the fire, but the former closer at Colorado's PIoneer League affiliate Grand Junction would find himself right back in it in the ninth.
Zach Hoffpauir, a former Stanford defensive back who is back in pro baseball after a three-year layoff, rocketed a single to left center field, his first base hit since we was a member of the 2015 Hops. Keshawn Lynch followed with a double to right before Caballero knocked them both in with a base hit to left field, Lynch racing home after the ball was bobbled. Yerzy came back around and hit a bounding ball to the right of second that somehow eluded two Boise infielders, initially ruled an infield hit and an error as Caballero raced home and Martinez stepped up to the plate, representing the tying run with none out.
In came Boise's seventh pitcher of the night, Hayden Roberts, who popped the balloon with just one pitch. Martinez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and King fanned to end the game as Roberts nailed down his third save of the season.
Boby Johnson (1-0), a 16th round selection in the 2018 draft out of Bradley University in Chicago, was awarded the win. He was Boise's third pitcher of the game and pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth inning, allowing only one baserunner on an error with two strikeouts.
The Hawks began the game with former LSU reliever Nick Bush, an 8th round pick by the Rockies this year. Bush tossed two scoreless innings, working out of a first and second, none out jam in the second inning, before Alec Byrd weaved his way out of trouble in the third and fourth as the Hops went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and had two runners thrown out at the plate.
Boise took advantage of a costly Hops error to plate three unearned runs in the fourth to go up 5-0, padding the lead with two more in the sixth.
Matt Tabor (0-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing five runs, two earned, on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Yerzy had three hits for the Hops for the second night in a row. Caballero reached base three times and scored twice. Hillsboro actually outhit Boise 12-8 and committed one error to the Hawks' three.
For Boise, Luke Morgan went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored and Matt Hearn reached base three times with a two-RBI triple and made a spectacular over-the-shoulder sliding catch at the center field warning track to rob Tra Holmes of a sure extra-base hit. Kennard McDowell, who filled in for MInnesota All-America shortstop Terrin Vavra, homered off Tabor in the third inning and scored two runs.
Game two of the series will be broadcast live on 1190 KEX with pregame starting at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch at 6:15.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.