Hops split with C's, prep for final homestand
They say a tie is like kissing your sister. Well, there's been a lot of that for the Hops of late, who for the second straight week managed a six-game series split.
After dropping three of the series' first four games at Vancouver, Hillsboro rode the red-hot bat of A.J. Vukovich to back-to-back wins over the weekend to even the series prior to heading home for the season's home finale.
Vukovich's fourth-inning home run in the last of the series' six games Sunday, Aug. 28, set the table for a 4-3 win. The 21-year-old from Mukwonago, Wisconsin, finished the series batting .333 with four home runs and nine RBIs.
The Hops played the series at Vancouver with four players — Jordan Lawlar, Jamison Hill, Adrian Del Castillo and Christian Montes de Oca — missing due to Canada's COVID-29 protocols. With their lack of availability in mind, Lawlar and Hill were assigned to Double-A Amarillo Aug. 23, where the former went 6-for-23 with eight strikeouts, while Hill started one game, allowing five earned runs on seven hits in two innings of work.
Vancouver catcher Andres Sosa's two-run, go-ahead seventh-inning homer gave the Canadians a 4-3 win in the series opener Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Hillsboro responded Wednesday, Aug. 24, when Ryan Bliss put back a Canadians rally that had closed a six-run Hillsboro lead to just one in the eighth inning of Game 2 with a three-run home run in the ninth en route to a 9-5 win. Scott Randall continued his impressive August, throwing five scoreless innings, striking out six and walking just one.
Randall is 4-1 with a 1.21 ERA, while striking out 28 and walking just four over his last five starts.
The Hops dropped Game 3 by the score of 10-9 after the home Canadians parlayed a walk, a hit batsman and a balk into the game-winning runs in the seventh. Hillsboro outhit Vancouver 12-6 in the game, but the Hops were done in by a Damiano Palmegiani grand slam and P.K. Morris' three-run sixth-inning blast.
In Game 4, Vancouver's Trenton Wallace allowed just two hits while striking out 11 in 5 2/3 innings of work, then watched as Hillsboro erased a 3-0 deficit in his absence before the C's plated the go-ahead runs in the sixth to defeat the Hops 5-3. The win was the ninth in 10 games for Vancouver against Hillsboro at Nat Bailey Stadium this season.
The series split was another example of what could've been for a Hops team that is just 3-12 in one-run games since July 1.
Hillsboro started the season as clutch kings, going 7-1 in one-run games in April, and were 15-4 through May, but they have had three consecutive losing months in one-runners since.
The Hops return to Hillsboro this week on the heels of their second consecutive series split. They face Tri-City in the season's final home stand Aug. 30 through Sept. 4.
News and notes
Former Hops outfielder and 2019 first-round pick Corbin Carroll was promoted to the Arizona Diamondbacks Aug. 29 and wasted little time getting his first Major League hit, going 1-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored in his MLB debut.
Carroll started the season in Double-A and batted a combined .307 with 24 home runs and 62 RBIs, with a 1.035 OPS in 93 minor league games.
West Linn native Tim Tawa's bat heated up this past week. The former Hop went 5-for-17 with five RBIs this past week at Corpus Christi. Tawa has generally struggled since being promoted to Double-A in July, batting just .183 with four home runs in 45 games.
Former Hop Jake McCarthy continues to cement himself with the Diamondbacks, going 9-for-24 this past week with the MLB club. McCarthy is batting .346 in his last 15 games and .310 over the last month of action.
Former Hops starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt has been on top of his game over the last two weeks, allowing just earned runs on five hits while striking out 10 in 12 innings of work. Pfaadt has been rock solid since being called up to Triple-A Reno, allowing just seven earned runs in five starts.
Last week's results:
Vancouver 4, Hillsboro 3
Hillsboro 9, Vancouver 5
Vancouver 10, Hillsboro 9
Vancouver 5, Hillsboro 3
Hillsboro 7, Vancouver 1
Hillsboro 4, Vancouver 3
A.J. Vukovich hit four home runs in the series against Vancouver, including in four straight games to end the series.
Starting pitcher Scott Randall threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Canadians, and is 4-1 with a 1.21 ERA in his last five starts.
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