KEIZER, Ore. -- Hillsboro rallied for four runs in the 8th to steal the series opener from Salem-Keizer in front of a sold out crowd at Volcanoes stadium. On a night where the Volcanoes held the lead for most the game, their bullpen ultimately cost them in the 6 to 3 loss.
The Volcanoes starting pitcher Julio Benitez ran into trouble in the first when right fielder Bryan Araiza got aboard via a base hit bunt then raced around to third on a line drive to right field on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by first baseman Eudy Ramos. Araiza scored when clean up hitter Tim Susnara drove him in on an RBI groundout to second base, putting the Hops ahead 1 to 0.
After squandering a scoring opportunity in the first, first baseman Ryan Kirby lead off the second with a walk and then reached third base on a sinking opposite field liner by shortstop Manuel Geraldo. With runners on first and third and right fielder Dalton Combs at the plate, starting pitcher Tyler Keele skipped a breaking ball passed the catcher for a wild pitch, allowing Kirby to sprint home to tie the score. The Volcanoes would add another in the inning when Geraldo slid home safely on a safety squeeze by second baseman Orlando Garcia, giving the Volcanoes a 2 to 1 advantage.
After the Hops tied the game on a sac fly by Ramos in the top of the third, the Volcanoes responded in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own on three consecutive seeing eye groundball singles by Kirby, Calabrese, and Geraldo, to regain a 3 to 2 lead.
The Volcanoes chased Keele from the game in the fifth after the right hander racked up 84 pitches in just 4.2 innings. Keele finished the night giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks, while striking out five.
Benitez's night would also be done after five innings, leaving the game with a 3 to 2 lead after allowing just two earned runs on six hits, with no walks.
The Volcanoes maintained a 3 to 2 lead until Jason Bahr came in to work the 8th inning. After walking Araiza on four pitches to start the inning, Northwest League RBI leader Eudy Ramos hammered a double to left field, scoring Araiza to tie the game. After recording his first out on lazy fly ball to right, former Louisville standout Drew Ellis drove in Ramos on a high chopper over the third baseman's head to give the Hops the lead. Connor Owings, younger brother of D'Backs shortstop Chris Owings, singled home Ellis on a soft liner to left, extending the Hops' lead to 5 to 3. The hit parade would continue when second baseman Ryan Grotjohn pushed another across run across on an RBI single to center, giving the Hops a three run advantage. In total, the Hops sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs on four hits in the inning.
Volcanoes hitters would go down quietly in the 8th and 9th, resulting in a 6 to 3 loss. The Volcanoes had plenty of scoring opportunities in this one, but managed just one hit in eleven chances with runners in scoring position.
Manuel Geraldo provided the offensive fireworks for the Volcanoes tonight by going 4 for 4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored on the night.
The two teams will face off again on Wednesday July 5 at 6:35 p.m. in the second game of the two game set when Volcanoes right hander Alejandro De La Rosa toes the slab against the Hops.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.