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Hops hammer Eugene to notch first win of season


Hillsboro treats its fans to a 12-0 blowout victory in the franchise's first home game

Opening Night. Over-capacity crowd. First win of the season.by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Hillsboro Hops shortstop Josh Parr fields the ball against the Eugene Emeralds during Monday's home opener at Hillsboro Ballpark.

Monday evening could not have gone much better for the Hillsboro Hops, who broke in their new digs at Hillsboro Ballpark in smashing style, torching the Eugene Emeralds 12-0.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ short-season Class A affiliate, Hillsboro is a member of the eight-team Northwest League and relocated from Yakima, Wash., prior to this season. In Yakima, the team was known as the Bears.

“From the beginning today, when we get out there and they introduce the players and the whole staff, you can see the guys, they’re happy to be here,” Hillsboro manager Audo Vicente said. “They’re enjoying what they’re doing now. For a lot of those guys, it’s probably the best place that they’ve been in their short career.”

The home opener ushered professional baseball back to the Portland area for the first time since the 2010 season, the last year the Triple A Portland Beavers spent in Portland. To open this season, the Hops dropped their first three games at Salem-Keizer over the weekend, so Monday’s victory — witnessed by a sell-out crowd of 4,710 — upped their record to 1-3.

“At school, I think our games, we got a hundred (fans),” said left fielder Zachary Esquerra, who had a double, a triple and two RBIs on Monday and played in college at NCAA Division II Cal Baptist. “So here ... it was nuts. They give us a lot of energy, and so it was cool to have that much support.”

The Hops had their offense charged up from the get-go, scoring a run in the first, two in the second and three in the third.

For the first tally in Hillsboro Ballpark history, Wagner Mateo grounded into a double play but was able to score Josh Parr, who had walked in the opening at-bat.

In the second inning, third baseman Jordan Parr — Josh Parr’s younger brother — hit a towering two-run blast to get the crowd going and stake the Hops to a 3-0 lead. Yosbel Gutierrez, who had singled to reach base in the previous at-bat, also scored.

Parr, who was chosen in the 15th round of the MLB draft earlier this month, connected on the pitch he was looking for, a fastball from Eugene starter Jeffrey Enloe, and the ball cleared the left field fence for the first home run at Hillsboro Ballpark.

“You never go up there trying to hit a home run,” Jordan Parr said. “I’m not a big time power hitter. I’m more of a gap-to-gap kind of guy. I put a good swing on the ball and it was a pitch I should drive. I did a good job staying within myself and doing my job.”

The Hops doubled their advantage an inning later. Josh Parr led off with a triple and scored on Mateo’s single two batters later. Esquerra then swatted his triple to center field to bring home Mateo, and Yogey Perez-Ramos singled to score Esquerra.

In all, the Hops knocked Enloe and relievers Genison Reyes and Jairo Gomez for 12 hits. Hillsboro drove Enloe out of the game after just 2 1/3 innings with seven hits and six runs. In fact, the Hops scored at least one run in each of the first six innings.

Brian Billigen and Gutierrez added two hits apiece, and Josh Parr scored three runs.

Jose Martinez picked up the win in his first appearance of the season for the Hops. The 19-year-old Dominican Republic native gave up just two hits and two walks in five innings, while striking out four. Patrick Smith relieved Martinez for two hitless innings, and Alexander Carreras and Will Locante pitching an inning apiece.

In all, it was a remarkable performance for the home team on a remarkable night.

“It was amazing, it was incredible,” Jordan Parr said. “I had butterflies the second we stepped on the field and we heard that music. The crowd was going. It was great. So thankful to be a part of it.”

The Hops were not nearly as prolific on offense in Tuesday’s game against Eugene, as they managed just three hits in a 2-0 loss. The Emeralds scored both of their runs in the top of the fourth on an RBI groundout and an RBI single.

Hillsboro’s best chance to rally back came in the bottom of the seventh, when Ryan Kinsella reached base on an error, William Castillo was walked and Billigen hit a single to load the bases with one out. But Ryan Gebhardt lined out and Mateo struck out to end the threat.

Jonathan Pulley took the loss, pitching 6 1/3 innings and giving up seven hits and both runs, which were unearned. He struck out five and walked one. Chase Stevens and Yoimer Camacho combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Kyle Lloyd picked up the win for Eugene, and Jorge Guzman earned the save.

The Hops were slated to complete their three-game home stand against Eugene on Wednesday evening (after press deadline). The team is now on the road through June 27. A five-game series at Everett started yesterday and continues through Monday. That will be followed by a three-game series at Boise.

Hillsboro’s next home series is scheduled for June 28-30 against Salem-Keizer, followed by a five-game series against Vancouver on July 4-8.