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Hops Stay Perfect In Extras, Even Series At Eugene

Dazzling D'Orazio delivers game-winner in 10-inning, 5-3 win
May 20, 2023

EUGENE --- For all of the Hillsboro Hops' struggles this season, one thing has stayed consistent. The tenth inning has been their friend. J.J. D'Orazio drove home two runs with a two-out single in the top of the tenth and the Hops (14-23) improved to 3-0 in extra-inning games this

EUGENE --- For all of the Hillsboro Hops' struggles this season, one thing has stayed consistent. The tenth inning has been their friend.

J.J. D'Orazio drove home two runs with a two-out single in the top of the tenth and the Hops (14-23) improved to 3-0 in extra-inning games this year with a 5-3 victory over the Eugene Emeralds (20-16) at P.K. Park Friday night.

Hillsboro lived on the edge all night with ten walks issued by five different pitchers, but the Ems were just 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position, leaving 15 on the bases to fall out of first place in the Northwest League standings.

D'Orazio extended his hitting streak to seven games with a pair of doubles and two runs scored to go with his late-game heroics. The 21-year-old catcher from Maracay, Venezuela is now leading the Hops in batting at .284 and is among the league leaders in on-base percentage, walk rate and strikeout rate.

Carlos Meza (2-0) picked up the win in relief, working out of jams in the 9th and 10th innings as the Hops evened up the series two games apiece. Hillsboro had lost seven consecutive games on Eugene's home field until a Wednesday victory. Hillsboro is now 2-8 against the Ems this year, despite outhitting the two-time defending NWL champs on the season.

Josh Day continued his hot streak, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double. After a 5 for 86 start to the season, the former Missouri Tiger has now hit in seven straight games and has reached base nine times in the last three games. Ivan Melendez also extended his hitting streak to a dozen games with a fourth inning single.

After Eugene parlayed a leadoff walk into a first inning run, the Hops countered in the second with D'Orazio's leadoff double and a two-out RBI single by Gary Mattis, Jr. D'Orazio doubled again in the fourth, sending Melendez to third. Shane Muntz followed with a sacrifice fly to left center before Day doubled to the wall in right center to plate D'Orazio, giving the Hops a 3-1 lead.

Neither starting pitcher was particularly effective, as the Hops knocked Eugene's Ty Weber off the hill in the fourth inning and Hillsboro lefty Spencer Giesting walked six Emeralds before departing with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Southpaw Will Mabrey came on to get a key out, retiring Aeverson Arteaga on a fly ball to shallow right.

Mabrey worked around an error and a Jared Dupere double in the fifth inning, fanning Eugene catcher Adrian Sugastey before Hops tormentor Jimmy Glowenke flied out to WIlderd Patino in shallow right center, leaving the tying runs in scoring position.

The Emeralds tied the score in the sixth after Luis Toribio led off with a base hit, advanced on a Zach Barnes wild pitch and scored on Arteaga's double off the base of the right field wall. With runners at second and third, Grant McCray raced home on Barnes' second wild pitch of the inning, but Arteaga stayed at third after Barnes fanned Victor Bericoto and retired Logan Wyatt on a liner to third.

Gerald Ogando followed Barnes and gave the Hops 2 2/3 innings of stout relief, allowing only one baserunner on a walk with three strikeouts. Meanwhile, four Eugene relievers stifled the Hops on just one infield hit from fourth inning on until closer Tyler Myrick took the mound in the top of the tenth.

With Jacen Roberson at second base, Patino hit a slow chopper toward third, essentially an automatic base with his blazing speed. Patino swiped second base before S.P. Chen hit a grounder to short with Roberson breaking for the plate, only to be caught in a rundown, tagged out by Myrick. Chen was able to get to second and Patino to third. With one out, Melendez hit a liner to short that Arteaga snagged from his knees, before D'Orazio delivered the key blow with a base hit to center on the first pitch he saw.

Between innings, home plate umpire Cas Cousins ejected Myrick for resisting a call to come out of the dugout and have his hands checked for a substance. An irate manager Carlos Valderrama voiced his objections loudly and demonstrably, but was allowed to remain on the field.

In the bottom of the tenth, Meza walked Toribio with Glowenke ghost-running at second. Damon Dues grounded into a force at second for the first out. Grant McCray, who almost single-handedly beat the Hops the night before with two RBI and an outfield assist in a 2-0 win, fanned on a Meza slider. Arteaga grounded out to Day at third for the final out.

The Hops outhit their opponent (9-8) for the seventh time in the last eight games, improving to 4-3 in those games. McCray drew three of the ten free passes, scoring two of Eugene's three runs after driving in both of the Emeralds' runs the night before. Dupere and catcher Adrian Sugastey each had two hits and a walk.

With Eugene's loss and Spokane's win at Everett, the Indians have taken over the NWL lead by percentage points over the Emeralds. Vancouver snapped it's five-game losing streak, but split a doubleheader against Tri-City and is in a close third.

The Hops and Emeralds reconvene for game five of the series Saturday night. Pregame coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 on Rip City Radio 620 AM.