Eugene Emeralds Baseball

After Chaos of the Fourth of July, Emeralds Get Back to the Familiar and Win Over Hillsboro

By: Joe Krasnowski

EUGENE, OR – To Allan Benavides, Thursday afternoon felt nostalgically, longingly, thankfully familiar.

The evening start time. The red, white and blue bunting. Even the traffic clogging up Martin Luther King Avenue on his commute to PK Park in the morning.

“You feel the buzz,” said Benavides, in his 14th year as General Manager of the Emeralds.. “Nothing like The Fourth of July here at PK Park.”

This year, especially.

After the City of Eugene voted against the future Ems’ stadium, a return to the typical — a near-perfect Fourth of July was much needed. However, Benavides and the Emeralds were more than ready to return to the typical slate of games.

In a 2-1 win over the Hillsboro Hops on Thursday, they did so with a resounding splash.

After the hysteria of last night, one that culminated with the night sky being showered with fireworks after the Emeralds loss to Hillsboro, , the Emeralds’ performance Monday night felt much more like a routine, work shift.

There was little flash. Not much pizzazz. But, behind a scoreless one-run six-inning start from Joe Whitman and a back-breaking one-run home run from Cole Foster in the sixth, there was plenty of substance in an 2-1 over the Hillsboro Hops at PK Park. 

Whitman keyed the night, striking out seven and allowing just three hits. The left-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth — despite remarkably allowing a run via an error and sac-fly — allowing all three knocks in his final two innings of work. 

Whitman’s outing only serves as the continuation to what has been a revelation of a start to his High-A career. He’s now allowed three or less runs over his last five outings dating back to San Jose. 

Indeed, there were other little ways the Emeralds won Friday night, earning a game back with a chance to split the six-game series with another victory tomorrow night. 

Headlined by Nick Morreale, the bullpen fired three scoreless innings behind Whitman who lowered his ERA to 2.37. 

And offensively the Ems did just enough, with Foster’s first High-A home run the biggest blow. 

With Eugene entering four games out of first place, more nights like this certainly will be needed — 18 of such contests take place against Vancouver. 

The Emeralds left just one runner on base, another trend the Emeralds can get used to amid the spring of a season.

The Eugene Emeralds are the High-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants. The Eugene Emeralds are dedicated to providing the best in family entertainment and creating a fun, safe environment for everyone to enjoy watching a baseball game. For more information, please visit our website at or call the Emeralds front office at 541-342-5367. • • •