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Hops Drop 1st Game to Volcanoes
Written by Rich Burk - HillsboroHops.com    Friday, 14 June 2013 23:32   

Keizer, Oregon --- One down. Seventy-five to go. And the Hillsboro Hops are here.

No, it wasn't a win --- the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes beat the Hops 3-2. But it was a celebration of sorts, as Hillsboro played the first game in franchise history, on the road here in Keizer.

The five-time NWL champion Volcanoes got solid pitching from starter Chris Johnson --- he threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits. The University of Portland product threw 71 pitches, 50 of them strikes. Hops starter Ben Eckels faced runners-in-scoring-position jams in each of his four frames, allowing four hits, walking three and hitting three batters. It could have been worse --- Eckels allowed just three runs, two of them earned.

Salem-Keizer got on the board first on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Ryan Jones in the bottom of the second, and added two more (one of them unearned) on a two-out single by right fielder Tyler Hollick in the fourth.

For awhile, it looked as though the Hops might get blanked in the first game in franchise history. The Volcanoes led 3-0 going to the top of the eighth, when the Hops got on the board on a single from leadoff man Brian Billigen, scoring Jordan Parr.

Then, in the ninth inning-facing relief pitcher Reymundo Montero --- the Hops got something going with two out and no one on. Hops catcher Yosbel Gutierrez hit a fly ball double that Volcanoes center fielder Randy Ortiz lost in the dusk. Jordan Parr, playing his first professional game, then pounded a shot to left that had home run distance, but which was 20 feet foul. Parr did single to left to bring home Gutierrez and make it a 3-2 game, but Montero struck out Hops DH Randy McCurry to end it with the tying run at first.

In spite of the loss, it was a night of firsts for the Hops. Among other things:

First batter: Brian Billigen (strikeout)
First hit: Ryan Gebhardt (first-inning single)
First run: Jordan Parr
First RBI: Brian Billigen
First extra-base hit: Yosbel Gutierrez (double)
First pitch thrown by a Hop: Ben Eckels

The Hops play at Salem-Keizer on Saturday at 6:35 (with a 6:05 pregame show onwww.foxsportsradio620.com). Sunday's series finale is at 5:05 (4:35 airtime).

And then on Monday, the Hops open the new Hillsboro Ballpark at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex at 7:05. The game is sold out. Tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday's games are available at www.HillsboroHops.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
 

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