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 Hillsboro Hops

Pintar Power: Hops Torch Tri-City Pen

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

PASCO, Wash. - With scheduled starting pitcher Jorge Marcheco unable to go with an ankle injury, the Tri-City Dust Devils patched together a bullpen day in pursuit of a series-clinching win over Hillsboro.

Quinton Martinez was stout in his first career start, but it was over after three innings. And that's when the trouble began for the home team.

The Hops (18-19) put three runs on the board in three consecutive innings, overcoming an early 3-0 deficit to cruise past Tri-City 10-5 Friday night at Gesa Stadium.

Andrew Pintar led a season-high tying 15-hit parade with four hits, including his league-leading seventh home run of the season. That two-run shot to left off Carlos Espinoza (3-1) in the sixth inning gave Hillsboro a 6-3 lead. They would score ten unanswered runs after falling behind early and were not threatened late.

Ricardo Yan (2-2) won his second consecutive start. Yan allowed three hits and three runs, two earned, over five innings with three strikeouts and three walks. Each team used five pitchers on the night.

The Devils (17-20) scored an unearned run in the third, then tacked on two more runs in the fourth on a Ronaldo Flores two-RBI double to left field. Meanwhile, Martinez cruised through three innings, holding the Hops hitless and scoreless while striking out three with a walk and hit batter.

Next out of the Devils pen was lefty Leonard Garcia, who had a 0.66 ERA through seven season appearances. But after a shaky outing at Eugene Friday in which he walked two, hit one and allowed his first earned run of the season, Garcia again struggled with command, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a Gavin Conticello single. But a Jean Walters double play grounder allowed him to escape the fourth inning.

No escape route presented itself in the fifth. Jose Fernandez hit a hard ground ball up the middle for a leadoff infield hit. Two outs later, Pintar hit a high chopper over the mound, scoring Fernandez from third base. After Conticello walked, Neyfy Castillo blooped a single to left center between four Devil defenders to plate Pintar. Then Manny Pena followed with a line single past third base, sending Conticello plateward with the game-tying run.

Espinoza fanned Walters with the bases loaded to end the fourth, but took his lumps in the fifth inning. Fernandez again got things started with a leadoff base hit. Jack Hurley smacked a deep fly the opposite way that caught the jet stream and got over left fielder Jorge Ruiz's head for an RBI double. Pintar needed no help from the stiff breeze blowing out to left as he blasted a no doubter well beyond the fence.

Jake Smith, the winning pitcher Wednesday night for Tri-City, could not repeat that effort. Back-to-back walks to Christian Cerda and Walters opened the top of the seventh inning. Fernandez followed with a deep shot to left center that had extra bases written all over it. But Werner Blakely made a fantastic diving catch to rob him of at least one and probably two RBI. That would only delay the inevitable.

After Wyatt Crenshaw grounded into a force out, Hurley walked and Pintar followed with a two RBI single up the middle, plating Cerda and Crenshaw. Conticello laced a double down the left field line to send Hurley home to give the Hops a 9-3 lead.

Hillsboro made it 10-3 in the eighth after a Pena leadoff single, a Cerda double and a Walters sac fly to left.

The 15 hits matched Hillsboro's total from the second game of the season, a 14-inning 8-7 win over Everett. Pintar's four hits and five runs batted in matched career highs. The third-year pro out of Brigham Young University also walked to reach base five times on the night. Fernandez and Hurley joined Pintar with two runs scored.

Kennewick native Mason Martin homered for the second straight night for Tri-City, a solo shot off Carlos Meza in the eighth inning to account for the Dust Devils' final run. Meza would later load the bases with two walks and a hit batter but fanned Jorge Ruiz to strike out the side. Matt Coutney was hit in the head by Meza and left the game, able to walk off the field on his own.

Martin went 2-for-3, walked twice and scored two runs. The homer was the 124th of his career. Blakely also scored twice for the Devils, going 2-for-3 with a walk. The top three batters in the Tri-City order went a combined 0-for-15 with five strikeouts.

The Hops go for the series split Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Pregame coverage begins at 1:20 on Rip City Radio 620 AM.

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