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Hops' rally comes up short in 3-2 opening loss


KEIZER — The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes spoiled the Hillsboro Hops' debut, winning their Northwest League opener Friday night 3-2 at Volcanoes Stadium.

Each team had six hits before the announced crowd of 3,421.

The Hops used three pitchers — starter Ben Eckels (0-1), Patrick Smith and Chase Evans. Eckels gave up four hits, three walks and two earned runs in four innings, while striking out seven.

The winning pitcher was former University of Portland standout Chris Johnson. He tossed six shutout innings, allowing two hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.

Salem-Keizer took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning and tacked on two more runs in the fourth.

Hillsboro scored in the eighth and ninth.

Third baseman Jordan Parr had two hits for the Hops, and catcher Yosbel Gutierrez had a fly ball double that was misplayed and turned out to be Hillsboro's only extra-base hit.

Parr's two-out single to left field scored Gutierrez and cut the Hops' deficit to 3-2, but a strikeout of designated hitter Randy McCurry ended the game.

Leadoff hitter Brian Billigen, the starting center fielder, drove in the Hops' first run with his single to left. It scored Parr.

The Volcanoes (1-0) played their first game under new manager Gary Davenport, who has replaced Portland native Tom Trebelhorn, the former major league manager who has remain's with Salem-Keizer as a consultant.

The teams will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, then wrap up their series with a 5 p.m. Sunday game.

Hillsboro opens its home schedule on Monday, playing the Eugene Emeralds at 7 p.m. at Hillsboro Ballpark.