Hops Win Opener in Final "Battle for the 'Boro" Series
Hillsboro Hops right-hander Collin Sullivan had his second straight solid outing, and second baseman Ronny Simon belted a long home run to right field to highlight a series-opening 7-4 win over the Vancouver Canadians on Tuesday night at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.
In a season-long series dubbed the "Battle for the 'Boro" --- the pandemic has forced Vancouver to play their "home" games in Hillsboro this year --- Hillsboro leads 14-11, with five games remaining in the series and the season.
The Hops were unfazed by the nine-day layoff forced by Covid issues among last week's scheduled opponent, Tri-City. Hillsboro broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth. Spokane starter Adam Kloffenstein had retired the first nine hitters to face him, but hit Jorge Barrosa with a pitch to start the inning. Simon then smoked one high off the net in right field, his second homer as a Hop, to make it 2-0.
Blaze Alexander re-ignited the rally by drilling one more than 400 feet to dead center, halfway up the high wall that serves as the hitters' backdrop. When the dust had settled, he was at third base with a triple. Tristin English singled him home, then advanced to second on a balk. He would later score on a single by catcher Nick Dalesandro, who extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games.
Vancouver got a pair back in the bottom of the fifth. Newcomer Addison Barger --- just up from Low-A Dunedin --- doubled to right, the first hit off Sullivan. Trevor Schwecke singled Barger home, and later scored on Zac Cook 's sacrifice fly.
Hillsboro answered with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth, though Kloffenstein deserved better. A.J. Vukovich struck out, but reached base on a wild pitch. Axel Andueza singled --- extending his hitting streak to eight games in a row --- and after a ground out, runners were at second and third with two out. Leodany Perez hit a routine ground ball to short, but Barger threw wildly to first and both runs scored, making it 6-2 Hillsboro.
The Canadians scored twice in the bottom of the sixth off Hops reliever Austin Pope on an RBI single by Barger and a run-scoring ground-out by Schwecke.
Sullivan (2-2) went five innings, allowing three hits, two runs (both earned), while walking one and striking out three. Kloffenstein (7-7) allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits over his six frames, with no walks, a hit batter and three strikeouts.
Liu Fuenmayor pitched two perfect innings to record his third save, notching four strikeouts. Hillsboro (49-59) trails Vancouver (54-61) by a game and a half for fourth place in the High-A West League.
The six-game series continues on Wednesday night at 7:05, with airtime on Rip City Radio 620 AM and www.RipCityRadio.com at 6:50.
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