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Hops fly into first with surge

Now they’re rolling.

Not long ago, the Hillsboro Hops trailed Salem-Keizer by two games and seemed to have lost a little momentum.

They clearly recovered their mojo, though, as they rattled off five wins in six games over the last week — including two signature victories this season — to surge into first place in the Northwest League South Division.

At 16-9 in the second half through Tuesday, tops overall in the NWL, Hillsboro entered a five-game homestand up a game on the Volcanoes.

One of those highlight victories came Sunday at Eugene, when the Hops trailed 5-1 after five innings, tied the game at 7-all in the fifth and then won 9-7 on Taylor Ratliff’s two-run home run in the 17th inning.

The Emeralds chased starter Austin Platt after 2/3 of an inning by putting up four hits and five runs. The other seven Hops who pitched combined for 12 hits but only two runs, and Mike Cetta picked up the win with a scoreless final three innings. He ended the marathon on a Felipe Blanco strikeout with runners on second and third.

Jake Mayers and Nate Robertson had three hits apiece, and Ratliff led the team with three RBIs.

n Among the other highlights, Hillsboro went off for six runs in the fifth Monday during a 9-2 win against Eugene for the Hops’ first sweep of the summer.

Elvin Soto provided three hits, including two doubles, and three runs scored, while Galli Cribbs notched two hits, three RBIs and a run scored out of the No. 9 spot. Jared Miller picked up his first win of the season, giving up only the two runs and three hits while striking out eight in 5.2 innings.

n Last week, the Hops earned their first series win since the all-star break against Boise, taking two games of three. The first, the other signature win in the recent stretch, came last Wednesday in unusual fashion, as the Hops won 1-0 in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off walk. Ratliff drew the winning base on balls off Corbin Hoffner to plate Kevin Cron, who had led off with a single — one of just two hits by Hillsboro all game. Mayers and Zach Esquerra also drew walks to load the bases.

Given the offense’s lack of, well, offense, the Hillsboro pitching staff picked a great night for one of its finest performances this season. Five Hops pitchers were nearly flawless on the mound, and they collectively had a no-hitter going until Zac Curtis gave up a double in the 10th.

But that was it for the Hawks offense. Miller, Nick Baker, Dustin Loggins, Luiz Ramirez and Curtis combined for just five walks and 12 strikeouts in the shutout, and Curtis picked up his second win of the summer.

n The Hops dropped a 7-2 decision the next night to the Hawks but got back on a winning track with a 5-4 victory last Friday. Starter Scott Schultz gave up eight hits and all seven runs in 5 2/3 innings in the loss. Cron posted two hits and a run scored. Pedro Ruiz and Stryker Trahan recorded the team’s RBIs.

In the 5-4 win, Hillsboro went down 2-0 in the second but scored three consecutive runs for a 3-2 lead after three. They added two more in the eighth and needed both, as Boise brought two runs home in the ninth on two outs and had two runners on base before the Hops managed the final out.

Soto had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Ruiz, Robertson and Cribbs also knocked in runs. Markus Solbach picked up the win in his Hops debut, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out six. Loggins earned his second save.

The Hops are in the midst of a five-game series against Spokane that continues through Sunday. After that, the squad heads to Tri-City for five games before ending the regular season at home against Eugene Aug. 30-Sept. 1.



Local Weather

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Hillsboro

Cloudy

Humidity: 78%

Wind: 12 mph

  • 21 Oct 2014

    Rain 60°F 53°F

  • 22 Oct 2014

    Rain 58°F 52°F