Hops' hitters get back on track
HILLSBORO — After a disappointing offensive night in the series opener on Saturday, Hillsboro batters capitalized on their pitchers' efforts in a 9-1 win Sunday over Tri-City at Ron Tonkin Field.
Aided by six walks, a hit-by-pitch and three errors, the offense's conversion of RBI chances should be a major confidence booster as the Hops prepare to head into a big road series with the Eugene Emeralds.
"Everyone, top to bottom, had a bunch of quality at bats," Hops left fielder Dominic Canzone said. "We just need to go into the next game and the next series with that same approach."
After the series finale with Tri-City, which is set for 7 p.m. Monday, the Hops will travel to Eugene and battle for first place with the Emeralds. That three-game set starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at PK Park.
Hillsboro and Eugene are tied atop the Single-A Northwest League South Division standings. The Emeralds defeated Spokane 2-1 on Sunday. The Hops and Ems are 14-10, three games up on the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (11-13), with the Boise Hawks (9-15) last in the division.
The Hops utilized production throughout the batting order on Sunday before 4,331 fans, scoring four runs in the second inning, two in the third and three in the fourth.
Jesus Marriaga (1 for 2 with three walks and two runs), Liover Peguero (2 for 4, two runs and one RBI), Andy Yerzy (2 for 4, two RBIs and one run) and Canzone (2 for 4, four RBIs and one run) filled the box score.
Marriaga kicked things off with a walk, and Peguero followed with a single. Yerzy knocked in the Hops' first run in 13 innings with an RBI single past Tri-City first baseman Jason Pineda that scored Marriaga.
Canzone, who entered Sunday batting .139 with one RBI in eight games since his promotion from Pioneer League Missoula, stepped to the plate anticipating a fastball from Tri-City starting pitcher Ignacio Feliz.
After taking a ball, Canzone sold out on a fastball and got hold of it, lining it down the right field line for a three-run home run.
"I was just wondering if it was going to be fair," Canzone said.
The eighth-round pick out of Ohio State admittedly has struggled with being out in front with his swing and rolling the ball over in at-bats. On Sunday, he felt it was the first time he was able to stay back on the ball, and it paid off with his big day at the plate.
Yerzy got another RBI single in the third, and Canzone hit a ground-rule double to make the score 6-0.
The Hops scored three runs in the fourth with just one hit. A Jorge Barrosa double, two walks, a hit-by-pitch and three wild pitches pushed Hillsboro's lead to nine.
The early onslaught of run support allowed Hillsboro pitchers to focus on throwing strikes and pitching to contact.
"(The runs) make for a completely different game when you don't have to catch up," Hops coach Chuy Mendoza said. "You are just trying to stop them. It's an easy way to win ball games."
Drey Jameson, the 34th pick in the 2019 MLB draft, received the start and struck out three batters over two innings.
Cody Reed (1-0), a 23-year-old who is making rehab appearances for Hillsboro as he works his way back from an arm injury that held him out of the 2018 season, pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two in his second outing for the club.
Erin Baldwin took the mound in the fifth and pitched the best he has all season. Entering Sunday with a 6.33 ERA, the 6-5 right hander lowered it to 5.52 with four scoreless innings. He allowed two hits.
"It's easy to pitch when you come in and your hitters have 10 hits and nine runs," Baldwin said. "I felt a lot better than I have in the past, and it's just good to hopefully be back on track."
Jake Polancic pitched the ninth and allowed the Dust Devils' only run on a two-strike, two-out RBI triple by Pineda.
Hillsboro did receive some bad news as star center fielder and Arizona Diamondbacks first-round pick Corbin Carroll injured his shoulder and will finish the season back in Arizona.
Hillsboro has just one more home series this season, a three-gamer with Boise from Aug. 28-30.
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