HILLSBORO, Ore. - The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes bullpen thwarted the Hillsboro Hops offense as the Volcanoes rallied down 3-0 to defeat the Hops 4-3 on August 9 at Ron Tonkin Field.
Salem-Keizer, who was starving for offensive sustenance after scoring just twice the previous night, loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first inning against Hops starting pitcher Tyler Vail.
However, they could not cash in on the savory opportunity. First baseman Ryan Kirby lined a pitch to Hops shortstop Ryan Grotjohn, who caught the liner and swiftly tagged out right fielder Logan Baldwin attempting to scramble back to the bag. Vail maneuvered out of the jam thereafter by inducing a ground ball out off of the bat of Volcanoes shortstop Manuel Geraldo.
Whereas the Volcanoes did not exploit on their first prime scoring chance, the Hops did so with theirs in the bottom of the second. With runners on second and third base with one out, Hops center fielder Tra Holmes chopped a grounder just passed the glove of Geraldo into left field for a base hit that drove in third baseman Drew Ellis and handed the Hops a 1-0 advantage.
Hops catcher Tim Susnara matched Holmes with a single of his own off of Volcanoes starter Peter Lannoo to plate left fielder Dan Swain for a 2-0 lead. A ground ball force out by Grotjohn tacked on another run as the Hops secured a 3-0 lead by the conclusion of the inning.
The Volcanoes did not remain shutout for long, as their offense pushed across two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Second Orlando Garcia and Kirby reached base via a base on balls and a single, respectively, top open up the frame. Kirby's single was pulled to the right side, allowing Garcia to race over to third base. The throw from Hops right fielder Bryan Araiza flew into third as Kirby red the read well and advanced to second base.
The proceeding batter was Geraldo, who laid down a bunt, which was fielded by Vail who chose to pick up the sure out at first base as Garcia scampered on home to score the Volcanoes' first run of the ballgame. Kirby moved over to third base on the play, and scored on the ensuing play on a ground ball by third baseman Shane Matheny to inch the Volcanoes closer to the Hops' lead 3-2.
Lannoo pitched only through the third inning when right-handed reliever Aaron Phillips took over the mound. Phillips was dynamic by throwing three shutout innings, allowing one hit while walking two and striking out four as he raised his record.
Hillsboro had a chance to cushion their lead in the bottom of the fourth when Araiza sent a drive into the left-center gap with a runner on second base and two outs. Volcanoes center fielder Malique Ziegler darted to his right side with the agility of a ravenous leopard and hunted down the fly ball deep into the gab to rob Araiza of extra bases.
Salem-Keizer's bats backed up Phillips glorious relief performance by tying up the contest at 3-3 all in the top of the seventh inning. Matheny doubled off of Vail to lead off the inning and advanced to third base on a productive ground out by designated hitter Michael Sexton. Dalton Combs then pinched hit for catcher Dylan Manwaring, and came through with clutch hit off of the bench by lifting a dying quail in front of Holmes that scored Matheny.
Righty relief man Garrett Cave toed the rubber in the bottom of the seventh for the Volcanoes and endured control issues early on in the inning. Cave walked the first batsman in Araiza, who eventually reached second base on a throwing error by Cave on a pick-off attempt at first base. He then walked Hops second baseman Luis Lara to set up a quandary with runners on first and second base with no outs.
The 6'4" 200-pound hurler settled down slightly by striking out the next two Hops hitters via a swing and miss. Cave plunked Swain after the second strikeout to load the bases, but forced Holmes to pop up on the first pitch to Garcia for the third out of the inning.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Volcanoes acquired their first lead of the series against the Hops. Baldwin began the inning by lining a pitch from Hops righty reliever Matt Peacock to center field that landed and bounced over the head of Holmes, permitting Baldwin to scurry over to second base for a two-bagger.
Garcia moved Baldwin over to third base on a grounder, and Kirby grounded a pitch to Grotjohn, who thought about rolling the dice and throwing home, but ultimately played it safe and threw over to first base for the out as Baldwin scored the go-ahead run for the Volcanoes 4-3.
Cave threw a smooth bottom of the eighth, and turned the ball over to right-handed pitcher John Russell to close out the ballgame. Russell did just that, saying, "Good morning, good afternoon and good night," to the first three Hops batters, striking out all three on whiffs to preserve the win for the Volcanoes.
Russell picked up his fourth save on the season, while Cave collected his first victory, as his record stands at 1-0 on the year. In two innings, Cave surrendered no runs and one hit while walking two and striking out four. Peacock was dealt the loss, as his record stands at 0-2 for the Hops this season.
The Volcanoes and the Hops will play the rubber match of this three-game series today at Ron Tonkin Field. No starter has been announced yet for the Volcanoes, while right-handed pitcher Brian Shaffer (0-0, 4.00 ERA) will get the nod for the Hops. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.