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 Hillsboro Hops

Delayed Gratification: Hops Take Tribe in Ten

June 9, 2024 - Northwest League (NWL)
Hillsboro Hops News Release

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- The crowd of over 5,500 at Avista Stadium was rocking Saturday night as their Tribe had tied the game in dramatic fashion with one of the most exciting plays in sports, a two-out, ninth-inning grand slam.

But the celebration fizzled soon after as the Hillsboro Hops (27-27) teed off on one of the Northwest League's top relievers in the top of the tenth and escaped with a thrilling 9-6 victory over the Spokane Indians (29-23).

With the win, Hillsboro is now three games behind the league-leading Indians with one game left in the series and ten games left before the first-half cut-off.

The Hops rocked Indians starter Blake Adams early, plating four runs in the first inning and another in the third. Adams surrendered a career-high nine hits over six innings, but retired the final five Hops to face him. Then former Portland Pilot lefty Caleb Franzen came on and set down nine more Hops in a row through the ninth inning.

Trailing 5-1 in the last of the ninth, the Indians promptly loaded the bases with none out against Hops closer Zane Russell. With the meat of the order coming up, Russell rebounded to strike out Dyan Jorge and Kyle Karros back-to-back. Up stepped cleanup hitter Jake Snider, who had already homered twice in the series and four times since joining the Indians from low-A Fresno less than three weeks ago. On a 3-1 pitch, Snider clubbed a shot off the Pepsi Porch neon sign over the short fence in right to even the score 5-5.

Jhosmer Alvarez (2-1) came on to get the final out and Spokane turned to dominant lefty Carson Skpper (3-1) to face the Hops in the tenth. In a league-high 20 appearances this season, Skipper had allowed only one run and came in with 29 strikeouts and only three walks in 22 innings. But the Hops had their lineup set with leadoff batter Jean Walters as the ghost runner at second and the heart of the batting order due up.

Jack Hurley started the inning with a hard-hit ground ball to the right side. First baseman Bryant Betancourt made a superb diving stop, but Hurley outraced Skipper to the bag, reaching on a headfirst dive, then popping up and pumping his fist, sending a surge of energy toward the visitors' dugout. Andrew Pintar followed with a pop-up to shallow center that dropped in between three Indians' fielders as Walters raced home with the first run of the inning. Gavin Conticello lined an 0-2 Skipper pitch to right to load the bases with none out. Christian Cerda cracked a fly ball deep enough to left center to send Hurley home with the second run of the inning. Then, with the Tribe infield drawn in, Manny Pena followed with a hot shot up the box into center to plate two more runs.

That turned out to be plenty. The Indians got a Jack Blomgren single in their half of the tenth and scored their ghost runner on a Betancourt sac fly, but Alvarez got Robby Martin, Jr. to line out to short. With two outs, number nine hitter Jose Cordova inexplicably tried to bunt his way aboard. Alvarez, slipped a bit with his plant foot but threw an off-balance strike to Kevin Sim at first to end the contest.

Roman Angelo had struggled in the early innings in his first three Hops starts, but, perhaps bolstered by getting a 4-0 lead right off the bat, the righty from Fresno State faced the minimum through the first two and got through six without allowing a run, fanning six with three walks, three hits and a hit batter.

The Hops came to the plate swinging early and often against Adams, who entered the night with the fifth-best ERA and WHIP in the NWL. Walters opened the game with a base hit for the second consecutive night. Hurley followed with a walk and Pintar reached on catcher's interference, with Indians' backstop Jesus Ordonez leaving the game with a hand injury before his first at bat. With the sacks jammed, Conticello blasted a shot off the center field fence for a two-run double, Cerda smacked a sac fly to right and Pena laced an RBI single to right center. Sim also singled before Adams recorded the final out.

Up 4-0, Pintar led off the third inning and deposited a fly ball just in front of the Coors Light Caboose beyond the right field fence for his league-leading eighth home run.

Pintar continued his recent tear at the plate with two hits, three runs scored and two batted in, extending his current hitting streak to eight games. Six different Hops contributed two hits to Hillsboro's 13-hit attack.

Martin had two hits and a walk with two runs scored for the Indians. Cole Carrigg extended his current hit streak to a career-best eight games with two hits and a run scored. Snider reached base three times and has also hit in eight consecutive games. Juan Guerrero's hit streak ended at 11 games as the left fielder went 0-for-4 with a walk, three strikeouts and a run scored.

The Hops, 8-3 against Spokane this season, will try to close out the series with a win Sunday. Game time is 1:05 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 12:50.

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