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 Hillsboro Hops

Hops Issue Quarter Mile of Walks in 6-0 Loss

June 19, 2024 - Northwest League (NWL)
Hillsboro Hops News Release


EVERETT, WASH. --- As the Hillsboro Hops near the halfway point of the season, their team ERA of 3.18 is fourth-best among 120 teams in minor league baseball.

That excellence was not on display on Tuesday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. Hops pitchers issued a franchise-record 15 walks --- two more than the previous club high, set in May of 2023 --- in a 6-0 series-opening loss to the Everett Aquasox. Add in three hit batters, and the 18 total free passes also set an ignominious team mark.

Right-hander Michael Morales worked seven efficient innings for Everett on just 75 pitches. The Northwest League leader in wins improved to 8-1 on the year. Fellow righties Chris Jefferson and Jason Ruffcorn worked an inning each to close the game.

Everett scored two runs in the first inning off Hops newcomer Jacob Steinmetz, just up from Low-A Visalia. Steinmetz worked 2/3 of an inning and threw 31 pitches, with several close pitches going against him. He struck out two, walked three and hit a batter before being lifted in favor of Junior Cerda. Cerda would walk five batters over his 1.2 innings, but didn't allow a run.

The Aquasox wasted several chances to break the game open early, leaving the bases loaded in the first and second innings and hitting into double plays in the third, fifth and sixth. Through six innings, Everett had drawn 10 walks and had two other batters hit by pitches, but had scored just three runs. Their only hit in the first six frames was Jared Sundstrom's solo home run, a short-porch fly ball to right-center field leading off the fifth.

Everett finally broke it open with two in the seventh on a pair of walks, followed by RBI singles from Colin Davis and Freuddy Batista. And they added another in the eighth on three walks and a bases-loaded hit batter.

All six who took the mound for the Hops contributed to the parade: Steinmetz (three walks, 1 hit batter), Cerda (5BB), Listher Sosa (2BB, 1HBP), Carlos Meza (2BB), Armando Vasquez (3BB) and infielder Jean Walters, who got the last out in the bottom of the 8th (0BB, 1HBP).

Hillsboro out-hit the Sox 8-4, but all eight hits were singles. Hops catcher Christian Cerda went 3-for-3 with a walk, and is hitting .441 in the month of June (15-for-34).

Hillsboro's first-half pennant hopes came to an end on Sunday when Spokane clinched the title (and a playoff berth in September). With three games remaining in the first half, the Hops would like to finish second. They are currently in a tie with Eugene, with Everett just a half-game behind. The first half ends after play on Thursday, and the second-half pennant race begins on Friday.

The Hops and Everett play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with the second game being a make-up of the May 5th rainout at Everett Memorial Stadium. Airtime will be 5:50PM, with game one of the twinbill starting at 6:05PM. All Hops games are on Rip City Radio 620AM, and at RipCityRadio.com.


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