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Vernia Stifles C's, Hops Hang On

September 16, 2021 - Northwest League (NWL) - Hillsboro Hops News Release

Justin Vernia returned to 2019 form on Wednesday night at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, tossing six strong innings and leading the Hops to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canadians. The right-hander from the Seattle area --- who had pitched well at the High-A level two years ago, but has often struggled this year --- worked six strong innings, allowing just four hits and one run. Vancouver (playing as the home team in Hillsboro) scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to get within one, but Hops reliever Mailon Arroyo struck out PK Morris with runners on second and third to end it.

Hillsboro broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth against Canadians starter Alex Nolan . Cam Coursey --- just off a brief stint on the IL --- walked and stole second. Axel Andueza had an infield hit, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Nick Dalesandro hit a chopper to short, which hopped under Addison Barger 's glove for an error. Coursey scored, and when Vancouver was slow to get the ball in, Andueza also raced home. Dalesandro would later score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ronny Simon .

The Canadians answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth when Philip Clarke doubled and PK Morris singled. Vernia then induced Barger to ground into a 4-6-3 double play as Clarke scored.

Vernia (4-5) faced just two hitters over the minimum, and the Hops, who played flawless defense throughout the game, turned three double plays behind him.

Nick Snyder worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning, and retired the first hitter of the eighth before Arroyo struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.

Then came the bottom of the ninth. Eric Rivera singled and took second on a fly out, and Tanner Morris singled him home to make it 3-2. Will Robertson also singled, putting the tying and winning runs on base. Clark grounded into a force out at second for the second out. A wild pitch from Arroyo went far enough from home plate to send Clark to second, while Tanner Morris held third. And with the tying and winning runs in scoring position, Arroyo whiffed PK Morris on a 2-2 fastball to end it.

Dalesandro doubled in the seventh inning; he, like Andueza, extended his hitting streak to nine games. Hillsboro has taken the first two games of the six-game series.

In the season-long series between these two clubs that call The Tonk home, Hillsboro leads the "Battle for the 'Boro" 15-11, with four games remaining in the series and the season. Both teams are eliminated from playoff contention, but Vancouver (54-62) is a half-game ahead of the Hops (50-59) for fourth place in the High-A West League.

Game three of the series is Thursday night at 7:05. Pregame airtime will be 6:50 on Rip City Radio 620 AM and

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