HILLSBORO – It felt like déjà vu all over again on Friday night as the Eugene Emeralds (59-48) yet again missed out on a chance to leapfrog the AquaSox in what was another loss to the Hillsboro Hops (48-57) by a final of 7-4 at Ron Tonkin Field.
Eugene opened the scoring with two runs in the first thanks to an early gift from the Hops as left fielder Elijah Greene dropped what should have been the inning-ending out on a flyball from Ricardo Genovés with runners on first and second. Instead, the dropped flyball resulted in Eugene’s Marco Luciano scoring from second to put Eugene up, 1-0, and it became 2-0 later on another gift when a passed ball by Hops catcher Axel Andueza allowed Sean Roby to score to see Eugene carry a two-run advantage into the home half.
That lead was short-lived as Hillsboro plated two runs of their own in the bottom of the first when Ronny Simon was hit by a pitch with one out, Blaze Alexander then worked a walk on a full count, the two then executed what was Hillsboro’s fourth successful double-steal of the series, and then AJ Vukovich singled with two outs two batters later to bring both runners home and tie the game at 2-2.
Hillsboro took the lead one inning later when Elian Miranda drew a four-pitch walk with one out, Jorge Barrosa followed two batters later with a two-out, ground-rule double, and then a wild pitch by Kai-Wei Teng allowed Miranda to score from third to put the Hops ahead for the first time, 3-2.
In the fifth, Blaze Alexander led off the bottom of the inning by reaching on a throwing error by Sean Roby, Tristin English followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice as the Emeralds unsuccessfully tried to force out the lead runner in Alexander on a slow chopper up the middle and Cam Coursey later reached on what was ruled as a fielder’s choice as he chopped what appeared to be a potential double play ball to Emeralds first baseman Logan Wyatt whose throw to second then sailed wide of the second base bag and into center field to thereby allow Alexander to score from third while English advanced to third. One batter later, Axel Andeuza skied a sac fly to center field that scored English to make it 5-2.
Eugene got those two runs back in the seventh when a pair of full-count walks drawn by Jairo Pomares and Logan Wyatt were cashed in when Franklin Labour lined a first-pitch double into the left field corner that scored both runners, but Eugene then gave those runs right back in the home half. Blaze Alexander led off the bottom of the inning being hit by a pitch, AJ Vukovich then singled with one out to move Alexander up to second, and another Hillsboro double steal was successfully executed, and then some, as Ricardo Genovés’ throw to second sailed into center field to allow Alexander to score. Moments later, Axel Andueza singled on an 0-2 count to score Vukovich and put the Hops back up by three, 7-4, with six outs to go.
Eugene didn’t muster anything worth noting over those final six outs as the Ems offense was retired quietly to wrap another largely flat performance.
Eugene finished the night 1-for-11 with RISP while leaving eleven runners on base despite Hillsboro issuing eleven walks. During the current two-week roadtrip, the Emeralds are 11-for-88 (.136) with RISP while leaving a whopping 73 runners on base. Eugene is now 2-8 through ten games on the current roadtrip.
The Emeralds offense mustered just two hits after the first inning on Friday night.
The Eugene Emeralds continue their six-game series against the Hillsboro Hops in Hillsboro, Oregon on Saturday night. First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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