The Hops opening day starter Jhoan Duran was considered one of the top pitching prospects entering the 2017 season. The 19-year-old hurler has found his groove in the month of August.Duran tossed six strong innings and picked up his fourth straight win as the Hops defeated the Tri-City Dust Devils
The Hops opening day starter Jhoan Duran was considered one of the top pitching prospects entering the 2017 season. The 19-year-old hurler has found his groove in the month of August.
Duran tossed six strong innings and picked up his fourth straight win as the Hops defeated the Tri-City Dust Devils 7-3 Sunday afternoon at Ron Tonkin Field.
The Hops extended their Northwest League South Division lead to two games over the Eugene Emeralds, improving to 17-15 in the second half, 39-31 overall. With Vancouver's 9-1 loss to Boise, the Hops are tied with the Canadians for the best overall record in the NWL. Both teams have already secured playoff berths.
The Hops broke a 1-1 tie with two unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning. With Bryan Araiza at first following a leadoff base on balls, Dan Swain sent a potential double play grounder to third. Tri-City's 17-year-old infielder Luis Almanzar double-clutched, then threw low to second, the throw glancing off second baseman Matt Batten's glove for an error. Back-to-back groundouts plated Araiza before Pavin Smith drove in Swain with a two-out single.
Duran gave up three sharp singles in the first inning, but escaped harm when the Hops turned a double play. In the fourth inninng, the 6-4 righthander loaded the bases on two hits and a walk before fanning Bryan Aragon on a backdoor breaking ball. Jose Lezama followed with a walk to force in Kelvin Melean, but Duran fanned Josh Magee on a 3-2 pitch to escape further harm.
The Hops plated an insurance run in the seventh when Bryan Araiza tripled and scored on a Camden Duzenack base hit, but Tri-City took the run back in the eighth, loading the bases with none out against Hops reliever Juan Torres. Matt Peacock came on to face cleanup hitter Luis Asuncion and struck out the NWL-Pioneer League All-Star MVP on three pitches. But Tre Carter drew a bases loaded walk on a close 3-2 pitch, moving the tying runs into scoring position in a 4-2 game. Peacock buckled down and fanned the next two batters, Batten and Aragon, on just six pitches to strand three runners on base.
The Hops got three key insurance runs in the ninth, two scoring on a two-out throwing error by Almanzar. Tri-City got two hits and a run in the ninth against Peacock before he closed out the game for his first pro save.
Duran improved to 6-2 on the season, matching the since-promoted Connor Grey for the team lead in victories. He struck out six and walked two, allowing five hits and one earned run. Tri-City starter Aaron Leasher suffered his first pro defeat. The sixth-round southpaw from Morehead St. threw 37 pitches in the third inning alone, allowing three runs, one earned, on two hits with one strikeout and two base on balls.
Araiza reached base three times, scoring two runs with an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Red-hot Daulton Varsho saw his streak of eight straight extra base hits end, but went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Duzenack had two hits and Ryan Grotjohn had a run and an RBI.
Game three of the five-game series is at 7:05 p.m. Monday night with pregame airtime at 6:35 p.m. on Rip City Radio 620 AM.