Despite their best efforts to give away an early 3-0 lead, the Hillsboro Hops persevered through heat and another teeming crowd on the road to pick up yet another win over the Spokane Indians.
The Hops (4-1 first half, 28-15 overall) tossed a combined four-hitter using seven different pitchers to defeat the Tribe 3-2 in front of 6,812 at Avista Stadium Saturday night.
Hillsboro led 3-0 after three innings with Joey Rose driving in two of the runs on a first-inning single and third-inning double. Matt Mercer (two innings, two hits, three strikeouts) and Ryan Miller (one innings, no hits, one strikeout, one walk) blanked the Indians (3-2, 19-24) over the first three innings. In the bottom of the fourth, former NWL Pitcher Of The Year Carlos Hernandez made his second rehab appearance in Hillsboro and the game nearly got away from the Hops.
Hernandez promplty loaded the bases on a hit batter and back-to-back walks, but looked like he would slip out of harm's way after getting Jonah McReyolds on an infield fly and striking out Tanner Gardner. But Hernandez, who led the Hops to a league championship in 2015, but missed most of last year after Tommy John surgery, fell behind Cristian Inoa before walking in a run. In came Chester Pimentel, who plunked Scott Kapers to force in another run. Pimentel fanned Scott Kapers to leave the bags full wtih the tying run at third and the Hops kept Spokane at bay the rest of the way.
Miller (2-0) got credit for his second consecutive win. The Clemson sixth-rounder has followed the former Oregon Duck Mercer in all of his starts with the Hops and has yet to allow an earned run as a pro.
Spokane put a late threat together in the ninth, putting two runners on when Tyler Depreta-Johnson walked against Trevor McKenna and NWL home run and RBI leader Curtis Terry singled against Yeison Santana. But Santana fanned Garner swinging to notch his second Hops save.
Rose went 2-for-4 and Andy Yerzy also had two hits to go with a run and RBI. Jorge Perez reached base four times, going 3-for-3 with a run and a walk. The second-year Hops' outfielder has six hits through the first two games of the series. Hillsboro managed the win despite issuing an uncharacteristic ten free passes (seven walks and three hit batters).
Scott Engler (2-3) was charged with all three Hillsboro runs, allowing five hits and three walks over three innings with five strikeouts. Terry had half of the Indians hits and runs.
Game three of the five-game series airs at 3:00 p.m. Sunday on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM with pregame coverage beginning at 3 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.