It has become a tradition of sorts for a former Oregon Duck Baseball player to return and play in their old ballpark, Ryne Nelson started the game on Thursday for the Hillsboro Hops.
Nelson was greeted pregame with fans chanting the Oregon Duck Fight Song and when he was announced as he took the mound, he received a rousing round of applause from the Oregon Faithful who watched him at PK Park over the last few seasons as an Oregon player. Nelson saw his first close to sellout crown at his former stadium as a professional which was unfortunate in a way.
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Under George Horton, the last few seasons have been a struggle for Oregon Baseball with attendance numbers unless the team was play rival Oregon State.
Ryne Nelson tossed a scoreless first inning, but the Hillsboro Hops lost the game to the hometeam Eugene Emeralds 2-1. Hillsboro tied the game in the top of the 5th at 1, but the Emeralds took the lead and the win.
The Emeralds are out of contention for the first half of the Minor League season with a record below .500 while Hillsboro has something to play for. They are two games back of Salem-Keizer with four to play before the first half comes to a close.
Nelson threw just 11 pitches in the game. He skipped his senior season with the Ducks after he was a second-round selection in the MLB Draft. He received a $1.1 million signing bonus signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Hillsboro Hops wrap up their series with the Eugene Emeralds on Friday night at 7:05 pm from PK Park.