After a hitless three-game sojourn to the Midwest League, Ryan Tufts was back in familiar surroundings Wednesday night.
Tufts christened his return to the Northwest League with a career-high four runs batted in, Zach Hoffpauir followed up his first Hop hit since 2015 with two more, including an RBI double, and Dan Swain homered as the Hops beat the Boise Hawks 7-2 Wednesday night at Memorial Stadium.
With the win, Hillsboro pulls even with Boise at 7-5 in the NWL South Division, one game behind first-place Salem-Keizer.
Tufts and Swain each played for the Hops in 2017 and Hoffpauir spent time at Hillsboro back in 2015 before taking two years off from pro baseball. After striking out in his first four at bats back in the game, Hoffpauir singled sharply in the ninth inning Tuesday night. In his first at bat Wednesday, the former Stanford defensive back rocketed a doubled off the wall in deep left center to drive in Tufts, who had just plated two runs with a double of his own.
Jake McCarthy scored a run in the three-run second inning, then drove in Jose Caballero with a triple in the third, scoring on Tufts infield hit to third base to put Hillsboro up 5-1.
Swain made it 6-1 with a leadoff solo home run to left in the fourth inning.
All seven of Hillsboro's runs were created by the bottom half of the order, including Tufts' RBI double in the ninth, his second two-bagger and third hit of the evening.
Franklyn Soriano picked up his first Hillsboro victory with five innings of four-hit ball. The 6-5 lefthander struck out four and walked one, allowing two earned runs. Relievers Luis Castillo and Kyler Stout combined to hold the Hawks to a single hit over the final four innings with Castillo retiring all six batters he faced with two strikeouts.
Caballero went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and three runs scored. McCarthy was hit by a pitch in his third consecutive game, reaching base three times with two hits, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Hillsboro's 13 hits were one off a season high, set three nights ago in a 12-2 win over Salem-Keizer.
The Hops close out the three-game series at 6:15 p.m. Thursday night. Like the first two games of the series, the game will air on 1190 KEX as the Oregon State Beavers forced a decisive third game in the College World Series, bumping the Hops from their usual radio home of NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM for one more night. Pregame coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
SHORT HOPS: In addition to Tufts' return from the Midwest League, the Hops added two pitchers to the roster Wednesday, including former Oregon Duck Matt Mercer, a 5th round pick in the draft this year. Joining Mercer on the trip from Arizona's spring training facility was Clemson reliever Ryan Miller, taken in the sixth round by the Diamondbacks. The Hops now have the D'backs top five college picks on the roster and five of their first seven overall selections.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.