HILLSBORO— The Hillsboro Hops roughed up Everett AquaSox starting pitcher Luiz Gohara for five runs over 21/3 innings and, while they came close, the AquaSox were never able to climb out of that hole, falling to the Hops 8-7 on Wednesday.
Everett threatened to tie or take the lead in the top of the ninth inning after back-to-back walks put the tying run on second base with one out. A double steal put both runners in scoring position for center fielder Austin Cousino, but his ground ball to shortstop Justin Gonzalez ended with both runners getting caught in rundowns, resulting in a double play that ended the game.
The AquaSox cut the deficit to one thanks to a three-run homer by right fielder Corey Simpson in the top of the eighth inning. Third baseman Chris Mariscal led off the inning with a single and advanced to second after Cousino walked. Simpson came through with his first home run of the season off Hops reliever Dan Savas.
Back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom of the third gave the Hops a 4-0 lead and knocked Gohara out of the game. Later that same inning, relief pitcher Vinny Nittoli gave up a ground-rule double to second baseman Pedro Ruiz, giving Hillsboro a 5-0 lead and adding another run to Gohara’s final line.
The Hops extendended their lead to 6-0 after a groundout by Tyler Baker scored Nate Robertson from third base.
Everett shortstop Nelson Ward gave the AquaSox their first runs of the game with his bases-clearing triple in the top of the fifth. Left fielder Phillips Castillo led off the inning with a single. Hillsboro starter Scott Schultz then retired the next two batters before allowing consecutive singles to catcher Toby DeMello and second baseman Jordan Cowan, which brought up Ward.
A home run by AquaSox designated hitter Adam Martin cut the deficit to three in the top of the seventh inning. It was Martin’s second home run of the season.
The Hops struck for two runs in the bottom of the second inning to take an early lead off Gohara. A dropped third strike followed by a ground-rule double put runners in scoring position for Baker. His single to right field scored both runnners to give Hillsboro at 2-0 lead.
Hillsboro added runs in both the fifth and seventh innings. Grant Heyman led off the fifth inning with a ground-rule double of Nittoli. Heyman then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Cesar Carrasco. In the seventh, Gonzalez reached first on an error by Mariscal to lead off the inning. Gonzalez advanced to second on a balk, then third on a wild pitch, and later scored when Heyman grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.