Hops Win Dramatic Series Clincher

Hillsboro beats Salem-Keizer 6-5 to close out .500 homestand

(Craig Mitchelldyer)

By Matt Richert / Hillsboro Hops | June 26, 2018 1:57 AM

While the OSU Beavers had their College World Series opener postponed by weather in Omaha, the Hillsboro Hops and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes staged a game at Ron Tonkin Field that had the feel of a College World Series game.

With two runners on and none out for the Volcanoes in the seventh inning of a one-run game, the Hops turned to their early-season closer Wesley Rodriguez, who fanned the side to end the threat. That set the stage for Jose Caballero, who delivered a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run single to left to plate the go-ahead runs in a 6-5 Hillsboro win Monday night.

Josh Green nailed down the final three outs for his first pro save as the Hops won the rubber match of the three-game series to finish their first homestand of the season 3-3, pulling to within a game of the Volcanoes in the Northwest League South Division standings at 6-5.

Down 5-4, the Hops got key outs with runners in scoring position from reliever West Tunnell in the fifth and sixth before Rodriguez made his earliest appearance of the season, setting down the heart of the NWL's toughest batting order. The Bronx native pitched a scoreless eighth inning, assisted by the Hops' third double play of game, and won his first game of the year.

Green, a starter at S.E. Louisiana University this year, gave up an infield hit to Salem-Keizer leadoff man Mikey Edie with one out in the ninth. Edie was gunned down by catcher Andy Yerzy trying to steal second before Green fanned former USF shortstop Nico Giarratano to close out a dramatic Hillsboro victory.

Yerzy, a second-round draft pick by the Diamondbacks out of high school in Toronto in 2016, had a big night. The 6-3 lefty hit his second home run of the season in the third inning before delivering a two-out RBI single in the fifth to pull the Hops to within one. With two outs in the seventh, Yerzy was at the plate when a Keenan Bartlett wild pitch put runners at second and third. The Volcanoes opted to put him on with an intentional walk before Caballero delivered the game-winning hit, a single through the shortstop hole that scored Ryan Dobson and Ryan January. Dobson fouled off three two-strike pitches from Bartlett (0-1) to earn a leadoff walk before January drew a one-out base-on-balls.

Tra Holmes hit his third home run of the year to lead off the first for Hillsboro, part of a 3-for-4 night with three runs scored. Holmes started in left field, the first time the former 11th-round draft pick has played anywhere other than center field in his two-year Hops tenure. Virginia outfielder Jake McCarthy patrolled center field in his second game as a Hop. The 39th pick in this year's draft was hit by a pitch in his first at bat before going 0-for-3, once again batting sixth in the order.

Salem-Keizer had taken a 3-0 lead in the top of the first with five extra base hits, including solo home runs by Trevor Abrams and Ricardo Medrano, off Hops starting pitcher Kenny Hernandez. The Volcanoes finished with 12 hits on the night and closed out the series with six more extra-base knocks, giving them 17 for the three-game series. Edie had three hits including a double and reached base four times with two runs scored

The Hops make a quick road trip to Boise beginning Tuesday night at 6:15 p.m., before returning to Ron Tonkin Field with five games against the Spokane Indians starting Friday night. Tuesday's series opener at Boise will air on 1190 KEX with pregame coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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