It's been a good week for the Hops.
After losing their home finale on the brink of a five-game sweep of Everett, Hillsboro hit the road for a seven-game roadie, first for two at Salem-Keizer, then in Spokane for a five-game set with the Indians.
Hillsboro finished the trip with a 4-3 record, taking two in Salem before losing three of five to the Indians. With Monday's series-finale loss, the Hops find themselves with a 14-12 record and in a three-way tie for first in the Northwest League's South Division with Eugene and Boise.
Hillsboro returned home Tuesday, July 11 for a three-game series with Eugene, and will head back on the road Friday, July 14, for a five-game set with Vancouver.
July 4 — Hillsboro 6, Salem Keizer 3
Trailing 3-2 heading to the eighth inning, Hillsboro put a four-spot on the board to take the lead, then rode another solid bullpen outing to victory in the first game of a two-game set at Salem-Keizer's Volcano Stadium.
Eudy Ramos, who tied the game in the eighth with an RBI double, went 3-for-4 and later scored the go-ahead run when Drew Ellis singled to left.
Junor Garcia got the win for the Hops, relieving starter Tyler Keele in the fifth and throwing three shutout innings, allowing just a single hit before Erbert Gonzalez nailed it down with the final four outs to earn the save.
July 5 — Hillsboro 17, Salem-Keizer 2
Runs, runs and more runs.
It was a record breaking night for the Hops as Hillsboro's Yan Sanchez highlighted an electric night at the plate, recording the franchise's first-ever cycle with a double to left-center in the top of the eighth. In all, the Hops finished with 25 hits, scored four runs in three separate innings and more than one in five.
Not to be outdone, Hops catcher Daulton Varsho became the fifth player in franchise history to tally five hits in a game, going 5-for-6 including a three-run homer in the ninth that gave him five RBIs for the game. Eight of Hillsboro's nine players in the starting lineup had at least two hits.
Connor Gray, who got the win and improved to 3-1 on the year, pitched six innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out four and walking none.
July 6 — Spokane 2, Hillsboro 1
Feast to famine.
A night removed from a franchise record-breaking game for both hits and runs scored, Hillsboro set another record, matching the fewest hits in franchise history.
Maybe it was the long drive to Spokane. Maybe it was the 100-degree heat. Or maybe it was simply a regression to the mean after the offensive explosion from the night prior, but the Hops got little going against Indian starter Alex Speas and even less versus the three relievers who pitched the final four-and-a-third innings.
First-round rookie Pavin Smith had one of the Hops' two hits, upping his average to .340 early in his pro career.
Riley Smith, who's dazzled thus far with a 1.85 ERA in five starts for the Hops, took the loss despite allowing just one earned run off of five hits, while striking out three and walking none over seven full innings.
July 7 — Hillsboro 6, Spokane 5
It was a strange night indeed. After two Hops relievers were tossed from the game shortly before the first pitch for playing a traditional game of "Bullpen Standoff," Hillsboro manager Shawn Roof also was shown the door for arguing their ejection and missed a 6-5 comeback win, two Hops homers and a couple of great back-to-back catches.
Bullpen Standoff is a commonly played game of "chicken" between opposing relief pitchers at the completion of the National Anthem. Neither team flinched and the umpires weren't having it, so Hillsboro's Cal Becker and Kevin Ginkel were ejected while the Indians left unscathed. That didn't sit well with Roof and the subsequent argument sent him to the locker room. What he missed was his Hops' comeback rally with the help of two highlight-worthy seventh inning catches by rookie centerfielder Trae Holmes — the first a diving catch to his left and the second to his right after left-fielder Dan Swain lost the ball in the lights, setting Hillsboro up for a ninth inning rally.
After loading the bases, Spokane's Jacob Rogers walked in the inning's first run, then Johan McReynolds let Yan Sanchez' routine ground ball go between his legs, allowing two runs to score and setting-up a Hops victory.
Reliever Matt Brill got the win for the Hops, while Spokane's Ismel Lopez took the loss.
July 8 — Spokane 10, Hillsboro 9
In a somewhat common theme for the week, there was a complete role reversal from a night prior. After scoring three in the ninth a day earlier to get the win, on this night it was the Hops that allowed three ninth inning runs en route to a 10-9 road defeat.
Indians' shortstop Jonah McReynolds started the rally with a one-out single, then three hits by Spokane's Chad Smith, Miguel Aparicio and Tyler Ratliff drove in three Indian runs to give the home team the walk-off win.
Hops closer Erbert Gonzalez, who had been 5-for-5 in save opportunities prior to, pitched the ninth for Hillsboro and took the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits.
July 9 — Hillsboro 8, Spokane 2
Tyler Keele took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and the Hops tallied 18 hits against three Spokane pitchers in an 8-2 victory to even the series at two games apiece heading toward the July 10 finale.
Hillsboro had hits in every inning except the eighth, multiple hits in six consecutive innings, and put runners in scoring position in all but two innings. Yet led only 3-0 before Drew Ellis sparked a four-run inning with his first professional home run to left field off Spokane reliever Argenis Rodriguez, the first of four hits in the inning that featured RBI singles by Duzenack and leadoff batter Yan Sanchez.
Duzenack finished 4-for-5 with a double, home run and three RBIs.
Tyler Keele got the win, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out seven.
July 10 — Spokane 6, Hillsboro 3
Spokane's Andretty Cordero was a thorn in Hillsboro's side for much of their five-game series and pounded the final nail in the Hops' coffin Monday night with a home run, double and three RBIs en route to the series clinching victory.
The Hops built a 3-1 lead on the backs of a Drew Ellis solo homer, his second in consecutive nights, and a two-out third inning rally following a couple walks and back-to-back singles by Yan Sanchez and Pavin Smith. But that lead was ultimately short-lived as the Indians put a three-spot on the board in the bottom of that same inning, sparked by Cordero's two-run shot, his third in as many games.
Hillsboro threatened in the eighth, loading the bases on singles by Smith and Daulton Varsho, coupled with a Cordero error on a Billy Endris ground ball, but Spokane reliever Josh Advocate worked out of the jam and ended throwing three scoreless innings for the save.
Connor Grey took the loss for the Hops, allowing three earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three.