Behind three pitchers, the Hillsboro Hops blanked the Eugene Emeralds on just three hits Monday night, July 22.
Left-hander Andrew Saalfrank started the game for the home team and allowed one hit over two innings. But it was his reliever, Marcos Tineo, who dazzled with five no-hit innings. The 22-year-old Dominican right-hander struck out eight along the way and allowed just one baserunner, on a walk.
The Hops scored four times in the game, but the two runs they got off Eugene starter Eduarniel Nunez in the first inning were enough for them to win. Nunez retired just two of the seven batters he faced before being hooked in favor of southpaw Brandon Hughes.
Hughes, a converted outfielder, pitched well, allowing one run in four innings. Hillsboro added a fourth run in the seventh inning on a balk by Eugene left-hander Bryan King.
Right-handed reliever Jacob Stevens continued his fine season by finishing out the last two innings, striking out four Emeralds along the way. He has averaged just one baserunner on a walk or hit per inning.
The action started early when second baseman Ricky Martinez, the Hops' leadoff man, singled to center. After right fielder Jesus Marriaga reached on a one-out infield single, Martinez and Marriaga pulled off a double steal. Martinez scored on a passed ball before first baseman Andy Yerzy doubled home Marriaga, and an infield single and a walk to load the bases forced Nunez from the game.
Hughes stranded the bases loaded as light-hitting Hops catcher Lyle Lin fouled out.
The second and third innings passed uneventfully, with neither team getting a runner on base. Lyle singled in the fourth inning, then scored after back-to-back singles by the left fielder David Garza Jr. and Martinez.
The Hops had a chance to tack on two more runs in the fifth inning, but Hughes stabbed a line drive that was ticketed for center field to end the inning, denying designated hitter Nick Dalesandro a chance to drive in runners on second and third.
Marriaga greeted King with a double in the seventh inning, then stole third and scored on a balk. Center fielder Kristian Robinson, who walked and took second on the balk, was subsequently called out on a Yerzy flyout, as Robinson took off early, rounded third base, and returned to second without stepping on third.
Stevens allowed a runner to reach second in both the eighth and ninth innings, but he struck out three batters around a double by Emeralds right fielder Edmond Americaan in the ninth to finish off the win and Hillsboro's first half.
Tineo was credited with the win, improving his record to 3-2. Nunez was saddled with the loss, falling to 1-2.
The Hops finished the first half with a 24-14 record and on a four-game winning streak. Eugene dropped to 16-22.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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