The Everett AquaSox (9-2) battled the rain and the Hillsboro Hops Monday night on their way to a 3-2 victory in the concluding game of their eight-game homestand. Jamodrick McGruder, Bryan Brito and Christian Carmichael each had two hits for the AquaSox, who took four of five from the Hops in the series.
Nick Valenza allowed just one run over the course of 3.1 innings of relief for his second win of 2013. Everett closer Richard Vargas finished out the game for a five-out save, his third.
Mariners 2013 second round pick Austin Wilson made his professional debut Monday. He showed great plate discipline, going 1-for-2 with a single and a pair of walks.
The Hops struck first off of AquaSox starter Rigoberto Garcia. The Dominican retired the first two batters he faced, but found himself in trouble after a walk followed by a seeing-eye single. Then Elvin Soto drove one to left that barely scored Yogey Perez-Ramos from second after a strong throw from Phillips Castillo. Garcia retired Jordan Parr to end the threat.
In the second inning, the AquaSox could easily have mounted a threat, if not for some solid defensive position by the Hops outfielders. All three Frogs' hitters in the inning hit hard fly balls to the outfield, but all three went directly at the Hillsboro outfielders.
The AquaSox evened the score with some impressive two-out hitting in the third. After Jonathan Pulley retired the first two hitters of the inning, Brito ripped a double down the left field line. Then McGruder found the hole on the left side of the infield, and Brito scored from second when the relay hit the catcher Soto in the face and skipped away.
In the bottom of the fourth, rain started pouring down hard and fast. Two batters came to the plate, but after Justin Seager grounded into a fielder's choice, the umpires conferenced and decided to postpone the game. After nearly an hour and a half, the game resumed at 9:39 p.m.
The AquaSox scored quickly out of the rain delay, as Hops' reliever Alex Byo came out wild. Byo walked Phillips Castillo, and after a bloop single by Christian Carmichael loaded the bases, Byo walked Wilson to force Seager home from third. He rebounded though, striking out the next two Frogs to end the inning.
The situation out of the rain delay was similar for Valenza. He allowed a leadoff single and then walked the bases loaded with one out. The Hops tied the game on an RBI swinging bunt by Wagner Mateo, but Valenza finished off the inning by retiring Ryan Kinsella.
Everett retook the lead in the sixth in a vaguely familiar way. Hillsboro reliever Chase Stevens allowed the first two men to reach base, and Brito loaded the bases with a beautiful bunt up the third base line. Stevens then issued a walk to Michael Faulkner, which scored Carmichael from third.
Wilson picked up his first professional hit in the seventh inning. With two outs and a runner at first, he shot a line drive into right field. However, Reggie Lawson popped out to end the inning one batter later.
The AquaSox hit the road Tuesday for three across the state against the Tri-City Dust Devils. They return home Friday June 28 for a three-game set with the Spokane Indians. AquaSox 2013 season and individual game tickets are available now online at www.aquasox.com and by phone at 425-258-3673.