The Emeralds defeated the Spokane Indians by a final score of 7-1 to take game 1 of the series. The Emeralds now sit at 46-45 on the season and 12-13 in the 2nd half. The Emeralds have had Spokane’s number all season long, and after tonight’s win they now move to 12-7 against them. The Emeralds have now won 3 consecutive games after taking the last two games in Hillsboro last week.
The Emeralds pitching was dominant in tonight’s performance against Spokane. Reggie Crawford, the talented two-way prospect, got the nod on the bump. He pitched in just the first inning. After allowing a pair of hits and a walk to load up the bases, Crawford was able to strike his way out of the jam with 3 strikeouts. It was impressive to see Crawford work his way out of a tough spot early in the ballgame.
Hayden Birdsong came in for relief of Crawford and pitched 5 strong innings. He allowed just 3 hits, no runs, 1 walk and struck out 3. Birdsong did a great job of inducing weak contact and the Indians were never really threatening to push a run across the board. Birdsong has now strung together a handful of successful outings on the bump, and his ERA sits just a little north of 3 on the season. Birdsong is currently projected to be the starter in Sunday’s game against the Spokane Indians.
The Emeralds were able to strike first in the 4th inning of tonight’s ballgame. With a runner on, Aeverson Arteaga was able to connect with a baseball and drive it over the wall for a 2-run home run. Arteaga has had a real power surge in recent weeks, and now has 12 homers on the season with Eugene. The game would slow down over the next 3 frames, with both teams being held scoreless.
In the 8th inning the Emeralds bats were able to blow the game wide open. Grant McCray was able to get on base via hit and that brought Carter Williams into the box. Williams was able to hit his second double of the season and McCray was able to come home and score on the play. Sean Roby was able to follow it up with an RBI-Single on the play to score Williams. Roby won the Northwest League Hitter of the week last week after his performance against the Hillsboro Hops, and he has picked up right where he left off. The Emeralds held the 4-0 lead in the 8th.
The Emeralds continued to pour it on in the 8th inning. Aeverson Arteaga was able to record his 3rd base hit of the night to put a pair of runners on the corners with 2-outs. That brought Luis Toribio to the plate. Toribio was battling at the plate and it was a loaded count for the left-handed hitter. On the payoff pitch, Toribio crushed a no-doubt shot out to right-center field to give Eugene the 7-0 lead. It was a perfect way to end the 8th inning in front of 4,000 fans at PK Park.
In the 9th inning Spokane was able to break up the shutout. Nic Kent hit his 7th home run of the year for the Indians to make the ballgame 7-1. Nick Morreale pitched the 7th inning and didn’t allow a single base runner and struck out two hitters. Hunter Dula pitched 1.2 innings and allowed 3 hits and 1 earned run. He was able to strike out 1 batter. Tanner Kiest came in for relief of Dula and was able to record the final out of the ballgame to give Eugene the 7-1 victory.
It was a much-needed game 1 win against Spokane. Coming into tonight’s ballgame, the two ball clubs were tied for 3rd place in the Northwest League. Now that Eugene has taken control of the series, they’ll look to keep stacking wins this week as they continue to climb higher and higher in the standings. There’s still a lot of baseball left in the season, but as the clock starts to tick each and every win just means a little bit more.The Emeralds will be back in action tomorrow night taking on Spokane for game 2. Daniel Blair will be on the bump for the Emeralds. Blair joined the ballclub last week, and after a tough first couple of outings he’ll look for a strong outing in his PK Park debut. First pitch is set for 6:35 P.M.