Emeralds defeat Hops 2-1, Susnara returns to PK park

Tim Susnara knows PK Park well. The former Oregon catcher returned Monday, this time as a Hillsboro Hop, for a game against the Eugene Emeralds.

Susnara was drafted in the eighth round of the MLB draft this year by the Arizona Diamondbacks and sent to the Hops for Minor League play.

The Emeralds (7-5) defeated the Hops (6-6) 2-1 on Monday night in Susnara’s second game as a professional.

Susnara went 0-for-3 drawing one walk. He also left three batters in scoring position—a problem for the Hops all night. But it was still good to be back.

“The atmosphere here was awesome—I’m really happy to be back,” Susnara said. “You know it helps out when it’s home territory to you. You’ve played a ton of games here for three years, it helps me out a lot.”

In his first game back, Susnara was chosen to be the beer batter—$3 Ninkasi beers for 15 minutes if he strikes out—so the crowd may have been rooting against him, but it didn’t add any pressure.

“I knew that was coming,”  he said. “I think I put more pressure on myself just being back in a comfortable environment.”

The Emeralds opened scoring with two runs in the second inning. Jhonny Bethencourt drew a walk to start the inning, and Kwang-Min Kwon doubled to left-center field to put runners on second and third with no outs. Jose Gonzalez grounded out to the second baseman one batter later, but he advanced the runners and gave the Emeralds a 1-0 lead.

Later in the inning, Hops pitcher Riley Smith threw a wild pitch that drove Kwon in to score. The Emeralds lead 2-0.

The Hops threatened a half-inning later when runners reached second and third with two outs, but Emeralds pitcher Alonso Garcia (1-1, 4.15 ERA) struck out the final batter to escape the inning.

Alonso got the win and finished the game pitching five innings, allowing four hits, no runs, one walk and earning six strikeouts.

The Hops had another chance to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning. Yapson Gomez replaced Alonso on the mound and immediately gave up a single and a double, putting runners on second and third base with no outs. Gomez fixed his own mess by striking out the next two batters. Susnara stepped to the plate, hit a grounder to Emeralds shortstop Aramis Ademan, who threw him out at first to end the inning.

Gomez survived and preserved the Emeralds’ 2-0 lead.

In the seventh inning, Hillsboro’s Eudy Ramos of the Hops hit a single down the left-field line to score Paxton De La Garza from second base and trim the Emeralds’ lead to one.

Hillsboro left much to be desired. The Hops went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring positions.

Luis Aquino made quick work of the Hops in the ninth inning to earn his third save.

The win extends the Emeralds winning streak to five games and gives them the outright lead in the Northwest League South Division.

The Emeralds will play game two of a three-game series against Hillsboro Tuesday at PK Park at 7:05 p.m.

Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917

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Jack Butler

Jack Butler

I am the sports editor for the Daily Emerald. I cover football and basketball. Email me at [email protected]