The Eugene Emeralds have had the Hops' number this year.
Eugene got a first-inning grand slam from Michael Cruz, had a 6-0 lead through two innings and cruised to a 9-1 win over Hillsboro at P.K. Park Sunday afternoon. It was Eugene's third series win over the Hops as the defending NWL champs won their seventh game in nine tries against Hillsboro.
Cruz, one of the hottest hitters in the NWL coming into the game, added a double later. His blast to right field came off Luis Madero with two outs in the first inning and was his fifth of the year, all coming in the last week. The second-year pro, a seventh-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs out of Bethune-Cookman, has driven in 14 runs on 11 hits during that span.
The Hops never threatened the Emeralds, who limited Hillsboro to just three hits. Starting pitcher Bailey Clark gave up all three hits over a five-inning stint, picking up his first win of the year. The 2016 fifth-rounder from Duke struck out four with three walks and the only run allowed was unearned.
With bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, Pavin Smith reached on third baseman Austin Fiiliere's throwing error, allowing Ryan Dobson to score from third. A recent addition to the Hops' roster from the Arizona League, Dobson had reached base on a one-out walk. By then Eugene had already done all of its scoring.
The Hops' bullpen shined wtih Matt Peacock, Breckin Williams, Matt Brill and Erbert Gonzalez holding Eugene to two hits and no runs over the final 4 2/3 innings.
The entire NWL league takes a three-day break for the NWL-Pioneer League All-Star game. Seven Hops will participate, including starters Pavin Smith and Eudy Ramos along with reserves Yan Sanchez and Daulton Varsho along with starting pitchers Tyler Keele, Riley Smith and closer Erbert Gonzalez. The game will follow a home run derby at 5:15 p.m. at Ron Tonkin Field with live radio coverage starting at 6:35 p.m. on Rip City Radio 620 AM and television broadcast on Comcast SportsNet NW at 7 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.