Hops Celebrate 4th With Fireworks (2024)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Nothing like celebrating America's birthday with fireworks in the 4th. No, that's not a typo. The Hillsboro Hops (4-9 second half, 39-39 overall) exploded for ten runs in the fourth inning Thursday night, turning an early 6-1 deficit into an 11-6 victory over the Eugene Emeralds (6-7,

EUGENE, Ore. -- Nothing like celebrating America's birthday with fireworks in the 4th.

No, that's not a typo. The Hillsboro Hops (4-9 second half, 39-39 overall) exploded for ten runs in the fourth inning Thursday night, turning an early 6-1 deficit into an 11-6 victory over the Eugene Emeralds (6-7, 39-39) in front of a sellout crowd at PK Park.

Apparently, no lead is safe in this series. Hillsboro's win came just two nights after they blew an 8-1 lead with two outs in the seventh inning. The win is Hillsboro's third in four games in this split series after taking two of the first three at home.

Christian Cerda hit a deep home run to left on the third pitch of the inning from lefthander Jack Choate, who entered the game with the lowest opponent's batting average in the Northwest League. The next nine batters reached base and 14 would step to the plate in the fourth to record the third-highest single-inning run total in team history.

In what looked to be a pitcher's duel coming in, neither Choate nor Hillsboro's Joe Elbis (7-2) was up to their usual standard. The Emeralds batted around against Elbis in the second inning, plating five runs to take a 6-1 lead. After back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the third inning, Elbis appeared close to being removed. But the 21-year-old righty righted the ship and retired nine of the next ten batters he faced with four strikeouts to reach the required five innings pitched to qualify for the win.

Not so for Choate, who gave way to Cody Tucker (1-1) after allowing five hits and a walk to the first six Hops in the fourth. Charged with seven hits and seven earned runs over 3+ innings, Choate had never allowed more than four runs in 33 professional appearances over two seasons.

Tucker could not locate the plate initially. missing with his first nine pitches. Castillo chased one breaking ball down and away for a strike, but earned a five-pitch bases-loaded walk. Gavin Conticello followed with a grounder to short, but Diego Velasquez muffed it for an error to score Hurley, who had earlier chased Choate with a two-RBI single. That gave Hillsboro a 7-6 lead.

Tucker's next four pitches didn't find the plate and Cerda drew his second bases-loaded walk of the contest. Tucker finally ended the on-base streak by retiring Manny Pena on strikes for the first out of the inning. Kevin Sim then hit a fly to shallow left. Left fielder Alex Suarez, playing deep, got a late break but recovered to make a spectacular, full-extension diving catch. Castillo raced home on the sacrifice fly. Two outs, but the Hops weren't done. Cole Roberts dropped a base hit into right center field to send Conticello and Cerda home with the ninth and tenth runs of the inning.

That would end the scoring. Armando Vasquez, Alfred Morillo and Junior Cerda combined to hold Eugene scoreless over the final four innings. Daniel Blair and Mike Mikulski combined to keep the Hops in check over the final innings.

Cerda has followed up a torrid June (.382 average) with hits in his first three games of July. The three RBI was a season-high for the 21-year-old backstop. The home run was his first of the season. Hurley went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Jose Fernandez had a pair of hits, two runs and an RBI.

Eugene leadoff batter Quinn McDaniel paced the Ems 10-hit attack, going 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs. Bryce Eldridge, one of the top prospects in the NWL at 19-years-old, extended his current hit streak to eight games with a pair of singles, driving in two. The 6-7 first baseman is batting over .400 in seven games at Eugene.

The Hops and Ems play game five of the series at 6:35 p.m. Friday. High temperatures in the south Willamette Valley are expected to reach triple digits. Pregame airtime on Rip City Radio 620 AM is at 6:20 p.m.

Hops Celebrate 4th With Fireworks (2024)

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