Facing one of the top pitching prospects in the Rangers organization in the beginning and the league's top closer at the end, the Hillsboro Hops kept pace with some strong pitching of their own, but in the end fell a run short.
Hans Crouse struck out six batters over five innings to improve to 5-1 on the season and Emmanuel Clase nailed down his eighth save with a 1-2-3 ninth as the Spokane Indians (5-3 second half, 21-25 overall) defeated the Hops 2-1 in the finale of their five-game series at Avista Stadium.
Jake McCarthy had two hits in a leadoff role and scored the only Hillsboro run of the game on a double by Geraldo Perdomo in the third inning.
Starling Joseph hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third off Hops' starter Ryan Weiss (0-1), who allowed just two hits and no walks with two strikeouts over three innings.
Kenny Hernandez was lights-out in long relief for Hillsboro (5-3, 29-17), surrendering three hits and no runs with six strikeouts over five innings, but the Hops managed only one hit after the third inning. That hit, a Joey Rose single leading off the fourth, preceded back-to-back, two-out walks to Ryan January and L.T. Tolbert. WIth the bases juiced and the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, Crouse retired Jorge Perez on a fly out to left field. The bases would stay Hop-free the rest of the way.
Crouse, a second-round draft pick out of Dana Hills High School in Orange County, California last year, gave up all four Hillsboro hits and the two fourth-inning free passes were the only ones he issued.
Bobby Eveld, who took a loss in relief in the series opener, retired the side in the sixth with a strikeout and Austin Pettibone set down all six batters he faced, half by strikeout before Clase worked a perfect ninth. Indians pitchers retired 16 straight Hops batters to close out the game.
Hillsboro returns to Ron Tonkin Field for a five-game series against the Vancouver Canadians, beginning Wednesday night. The first four games of the series are at 7:05 p.m. with Sunday's finale at 4:05 p.m. Catch all of the action on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM, with weekday pregame coverage beginning at 7 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.