Hops still sitting in first place after six-game road trip
Some quick hit items from the Hillsboro Hops recent six-game road trip against Boise and Salem-Keizer.
On Sunday, the Hops celebrated their 100th game as a Hillsboro franchise in style, beating Salem-Keizer 11-9 in a barnburner on the road. The game featured four lead changes, the final one coming courtesy of Hops infielder Pedro Ruiz, who hit a two-run ninth-inning bomb over the fence in right field. Ruiz, Grant Heyman and Nate Robertson paced the offense with three hits apiece, Cody Geyer earned the win, and Zac Curtis picked up his sixth save with a scoreless ninth.
Hops fans set an attendance record last Thursday, Hillsboros last home game before the Fourth of July. A crowd of 5,205 streamed into Ron Tonkin Field, and the spectators got to see fireworks not only after the game but also during it. Justin Gonzalez sent a three-run shot to right field to give the home team a 7-4 lead in the seventh. Geyer gave up two runs in the ninth but clamped down from there to preserve the victory. Alex Byo picked up the win by throwing 2.1 hitless, scoreless innings ahead of Geyer.
Nick Baker is expected to get the start tonight against Salem-Keizer. The 6-foot-2 right-hander out of Chico State has one win and one save so far this season for the Hops, and he sports a 2.25 ERA.
Rich Burk, the Voice of the Hops, posted a number of fun facts about the Hops in a recent blog entry that you can find at richburk.mlblogs.com. Among them (and updated through Tuesday), the Hops are 49-51 as a Hillsboro franchise, they have gone a Northwest League-best 41-26 since July 18 of last season, and Taylor Ratliff leads all Hops in appearances (76). Hillsboro is still waiting for its first grand slam, but the Hops do have eight three-run home runs to their credit. Finally, Ron Tonkin Field has had three sellouts already this season, just one off of last years total.