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Hops Sweep Twinbill In Pair Of Nailbiters

Hops blank Vancouver 2-0 in opener, win 5-4 in nightcap
September 1, 2023

The Hillsboro Hops and Vancouver Canadians made up their rained out Tuesday game with a seven-inning doubleheader Thursday night at Nat Bailey Stadium. While to the south, the other Pacific Northwest baseball venues dealt with downpours, the skies cleared in Vancouver and the Hops shined in both halves. Hillsboro took

The Hillsboro Hops and Vancouver Canadians made up their rained out Tuesday game with a seven-inning doubleheader Thursday night at Nat Bailey Stadium. While to the south, the other Pacific Northwest baseball venues dealt with downpours, the skies cleared in Vancouver and the Hops shined in both halves.

Hillsboro took advantage of a two-out error in the fourth inning of game one as Gavin Conticello doubled home a pair of runs. Ricardo Yan and Listher Sosa took care of the rest, combining on a four-hit shutout as the Hops defeated the Canadians 2-0 in the opener.

In game two, Vancouver's Glenn Santiago cleared the bases with a double in his first Canadians at bat in the second inning, but the Hops answered with a four-run third, keyed by a three-run Jesus Valdez home run. The Hops went on to win 5-4 to earn the doubleheader sweep, taking a two games to one lead in the series.

Game four is a "Nooner At The Nat" Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Pregame coverage begins at 12:50 p.m. on Rip City Radio 620 AM.

Yan continued his sensational start with the Hops. After going 1-9 as a starter in 18 games at Visalia, Yan was dominant in two long relief appearances pitching behind Yilber Diaz last week against Eugene and two weeks ago at Everett. In his first Hops start Thursday, the lanky, 20-year-old righthander fanned a career-high-tying nine batters over 4 2/3 innings, departing one out away from qualifying for the win after allowing just two hits and three walks.

Sosa got the final out in the fifth after walking Garrett Spain to load the bases. Peyton Williams hit a 108 mph laser to right field, but Kevin Graham reached up to make the catch to keep the C's off the board. Sosa would pitch out of a second and third jam in the sixth before retiring the side in order in the seventh inning. The Hops outhit Vancouver 7-4 in the opener, led by Andrew Pintar's fourth consecutive multi-hit game (2-for-4, HBP).

Conticello's double came after Graham hit a squibber to third that was mishandled by Jeffrey Wehler for an error. That put runners at first and second with two outs before the 6-4 first baseman hit a one-hopper off the right field wall.

Conticello added another double in the nightcap. The 20-year-old Floridian has a double in each of his first three games in a Hillsboro uniform. But it was the hit before his two-bagger that made the difference. With Vancouver leading 3-0, Christian Cerda banged a two-out RBI single up the middle to plate Gavin Logan, who had walked to lead off the third. Jesus Valdez followed with a three-run home run to left off Vancouver starter Kevin Miranda to put the Hops up 4-3.

An unearned run again proved to be deadly for Vancouver. In the fourth inning, Logan doubled with one out and Pintar reached on a muff at third, this time by Alex De Jesus. With two outs, Tommy Troy grounded a single past the diving De Jesus to put the Hops up 5-3.

Cade Doughty brought the C's back within one with a fifth inning homer to make it 5-4, but the Canadian had only one more hit the rest of the way off Armando Vasquez and Peniel Otano. Otano hit Garrett Spain with a pitch with two outs in the seventh, but Doughty grounded harmlessly to short on the very next pitch to end the contest.

Gunnar Groen, whose only other appearance with the Hops this year came on their last trip to Vancouver in June, pitched two scoreless innings in back of starter Eli Saul, allowing two hits and one walk with three strikeouts to card his first High-A victory. Otano recorded his second save of the season. Both have been on the Canadians home field. Pintar had another hit, but his multi-hit streak ended. Logan scored twice.

Now up two games to one in the series, the teams return to action with a "Nooner At The Nat" on Friday. Pregame coverage begins at 12:50 p.m. on Rip City Radio 620 AM with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.