EVERETT, WASH. (June 3, 2023) --- Taiwanese left-hander Yu-Min Lin --- at age 19, the Hops’ youngest player --- dazzled on Saturday night at Everett Memorial Stadium, tying the Hops’ franchise record by recording 13 strikeouts. He left with a 6-0 lead, but the Hops’ bullpen let it slip away.
EVERETT, WASH. (June 3, 2023) --- Taiwanese left-hander Yu-Min Lin --- at age 19, the Hops’ youngest player --- dazzled on Saturday night at Everett Memorial Stadium, tying the Hops’ franchise record by recording 13 strikeouts. He left with a 6-0 lead, but the Hops’ bullpen let it slip away. Everett scored four in the sixth, two in the seventh and three in the eighth en route to a 9-6 win.
With seemingly all of his repertoire working --- and he has a wide variety of offerings --- Lin struck out the first seven batters he faced. He didn’t allow a hit until Charlie Welch doubled with one out in the fifth, after which Lin struck out his final two batters. Lin’s final line: five innings, one hit, no runs and one walk to go along with the 13 Ks. He threw just 74 pitches, 51 of them strikes.
Lin’s strikeout total matched the franchise record set by Jamison Hill last July in Eugene, and fell just one shy of the most by any pitcher in baseball this year, majors or minors (Andrew Abbott had a 14-strikeout game for the Reds’ Double-A Chattanooga affiliate in the Southern League on April 13th).
Hillsboro built a 6-0 lead in support of Lin, and probably should have had more. Josh Day had a solo home run in the second to make it 2-0, but in the third, the Hops drew three consecutive one-out walks against Aquasox starter Raul Alcantara and scored just once.
Ivan Melendez hit a long two-run home run in the fifth to put Hillsboro up 5-0. But it was the top of the sixth the Hops’ offense will really regret. Still leading 5-0, they loaded the bases with no one out against reliever Jimmy Kingsbury, and scored just once, on a Jacen Roberson RBI ground-out.
Peniel Otano came out of the Hillsboro bullpen in relief of Lin to start the bottom of the sixth. And when he issued a four-pitch walk to the number-nine hitter, Blake Rambusch, you could see it coming. Leadoff man Harry Ford followed with a single, and one out later Alberto Rodriguez walked to load the bases. Hogan Windish hit a high chopper to third. Hops third baseman Josh Day had to hurry, and his throw bounced past first baseman Melendez and down the right-field line. All three baserunners scored to cut the lead in half, and Walking Cabrera then doubled into the left-field corner to make it 6-4. After Otano struck out Charlie Welch and walked Mike Salvatore, Will Mabrey was summoned from the Hillsboro bullpen and he struck out Erik Stock to end the inning.
Mabrey, though, ran into problems of his own in the seventh. Rambusch drew another leadoff walk, Ford singled off the wall in right-center, and one out later Rodriguez (who entered the game with 31 extra-base hits, second across all of minor league baseball) blooped a double to left to score two and tie the game 6-6. Mabrey then struck out the next two hitters to keep the tie intact.
But it didn’t last long. In the bottom of the eighth, Mabrey allowed a one-out single to Salvatore. Then, with two out, Gerald Ogando replaced Mabrey. Rambusch drew another walk, bringing up Ford with runners at first and second and two down. The Mariners’ top prospect had been just 2-for-36 against Hillsboro prior to his singles in the sixth and seventh innings, and still hadn’t had an extra-base hit against the Hops all season as he came up in the eighth. Ford drove a 2-1 Gerald Ogando pitch to the opposite field in right, a three-run home run that put the Sox up 9-6.
Incredibly, Rambusch has drawn eight walks in the past three games out of Everett’s number-nine slot in the batting order… and has scored a run after seven of those eight bases on balls.
While the Hops’ bullpen struggled, Everett’s shone. Kingsbury loaded the bases with none out in the top of the sixth on a single, hit batter and walk. But after that the trio of Kingsbury, Luis Curvelo and Mike Flynn proceeded to retire the final 12 Hops in order, with seven strikeouts.
Twelve Hops and nineteen Aquasox went down on strikes. The 19 Ks matched the fifth-most by Hops pitching in a single game, and the second-most in a nine-inning contest.
Hillsboro (21-29) is in sixth place in the Northwest League 5.5 games out with 16 games remaining in the first-half pennant race. Everett (25-25) is in a tie for fourth, just 1.5 games out.
Despite the loss, Hillsboro will enter Sunday’s series finale with a chance to win their first six-game road series of the year. The radio broadcast on Rip City Radio 620AM (and online at www.RipCityRadio.com) will begin at 3:50, with first pitch scheduled for 4:05.