Eugene Emeralds Baseball

Emeralds’ bats struggle again in 6-1 loss to Tri-City

By: Joe Krasnowski

EUGENE, OR – Manuel Mercedes’ rough start to the season continued, as did the Ems (18-10) hypnotic start to the series.

He allowed six runs — five earned — in the loss and unlike his sinker, the reason for Mercedes’ troubles wasn’t hard to locate.

Of his 69 pitches, 48 went for strikes, but the ones that did find the zone were often lacking in placement. A middle-in 3-2 sinker to Ben Gobbel easily cleared the fence in left in the first.

11 laborious pitches later, it was another poorly located sinker to Kevin Bruggerman who doubled to left, tacking on the second and third runs of the inning. The crooked number put the Ems — who tallied just three hits the night before — in another early hole. 

The game wasn’t over there. The Emeralds would later trim their deficit but ultimately were insipid down the stretch. Facing a big early hole on a brisk, breezy, Northwestern night, Eugene couldn’t salvage the second game of its homestand, falling 6-1 to Tri-City (11-17) and losing back-to-back games for the first time all season.

As the night continued, so did the mediocrity of Mercedes’ outing. A two-out single to center — this one on a slider — from Gobbel pushed another run across. 

With Mercedes’ pitch count climbing — he’d been an out away from escaping the damage in both of the first two innings —  his outing only labored on. Still with no action in the pen, Mercedes surrendered two more in the third. The biggest blows in the frame came via a ground-rule double from Cam Williams and a Caleb Ketchup fielders-choice

Finally, after allowing runs in all three of his prior innings, Mercedes fired a scoreless fourth. Another Coutney knock was the lone blemish in Mercedes’ lone clean frame.  

Mercedes saw his ERA rise to 7.15 in a lackluster start to his season. 

Another troubling trend of the night — and the series — came in the form of the Ems offensive lul. The team mustered just five hits on the day and fanned seven times.

Zach Morgan’s leadoff single in the third broke a streak of 22 straight batters without the Emeralds reaching base

The rest of Eugene’s bullpen did its part in limiting the damage. Seth Corry — who lowered his season ERA to 1.26  — was terrific, flashing a devastating slider he used for five strikeouts on the day.

Corry — who was drafted in the third round in 2017 — battled through some of his ever present control issues but was otherwise dominant. Of his nine batters faced, he struck out five, hit two, and walked one. 

“I feel healthy, and know who I am every time I go out there,” Corry said yesterday.

The Emeralds, though, wouldn’t get any closer down the stretch in their eventual defeat.

They threatened in the sixth, loading the bases, but Walbert Urena’s superb day continued. His 95th and final pitch of the day clocked at 97.3 and induced an Andrew Kachel groundout to end the threat. 

Ben Madison and Hunter Dula backed up Corry’s work, combining to throw three scoreless frames. 

Quinn McDaniel’s third homer of the year tacked on the Ems’ lone run of the game in the eighth. He swatted one out to left with the blast hitting off the scoreboard to score the Ems first run since the first inning of yesterday’s contest. 

Still, it was far from enough on a night when the Ems were subpar at best.

Short hops

McDaniel entered Wednesday’s contest hitting .400 at home but just .189 on the road. Oddly enough his eighth-inning blast was his first homer at home in the young season. 

Eugene went nearly 16 innings without recording a run. 

The Ems’ bullpen has fired ten scoreless innings in relief through two games against Tri-City. 

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. • • •