Emeralds Walk Their Way To Series-Opening Win Over Hillsboro

By: Joe Krasnowski

EUGENE, OR – For professional pitchers worldwide, the Hops included, there is a universal kryptonite from which even years of practice, execution and perfection isn’t immune.


Hops pitchers walked seven Emeralds in the eighth inning alone, giving a previously soporific Eugene offense all it would need in a 3-2 win over Hillsboro. 

Seven walks as Hops pitchers Peñiel Otaño and Junior Cerda were unable to locate anything close to the zone, all while Emeralds batters held stone-cold at the dish. 

Seven walks, all the goodwill and big plays and tireless execution gone, another Hops (6-10) chance wasted, another game the Emeralds (13-3) ended up winning.

Seven walks, turning the Ems offense from insipid to inspired. 

Otaño and Cerda walked a whopping seven batters in the eighth inning, six of which came around to score in a six-run fateful inning where Eugene did not get a single hit. 

Seven walks, one awful error and one more example of why, seemingly no matter what happens, or if they deserve to — the Emeralds will continue to win. 

Only making the disaster worse for the visitors, Hillsboro starter Billy Corcoran was magnificent, twirling six innings and striking out seven. More than doing his part in a game where his bullpen failed him horrifically. 

Hillsboro went 3-12 with runners in scoring position, but ultimately faltered when it mattered most, stumbling to the finish-line while operating on the smallest of margins. 

To keep Eugene in the game, Jack Choate was good enough, he got the start for the Ems and continued his streak of four-inning outings. Over his four frames, he allowed just one run but allowed a plethora of hard contact. He was tagged for four hits on the day and his day was done after four innings and _ laborious pitches.

Much like Choate, reliever Nick Morreale’s first inning of work resulted in a run allowed, yet again via Castillo’s single. His knock allowed was of the infield variety and drove in Kevin Sim. Morreale’s run was unearned because of his own error on a pick-off that advanced Sim to third. 

After Morreale’s self-imposed error, he settled in well, Bouncing back from a rough last outing, Nick Morreale was first out of the pen for Eugene, striking out four over his three innings of work. Morreale entered with a 5.14 ERA but only allowed one — unearned — run, he saw that number drop to 3.60 after his best outing of the year. 

The last Ems knock came in the sixth as Onil Perez beat out an infield single. 

Corcoran was beyond dominant, commanding his fastball on his way to success. His dominance kept the Eugene fans asleep, until free-passes sparked the rally. 

The Ems went 0-6 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on, they didn’t deserve to win — and did so anyway. 

 It can be a long and lonely walk out to the mound for a manager when you’ve already had to go out once before, in the same inning. All while just one out has been recorded.

That’s the position Hops skipper Javier Colina was in during that disastrous eighth inning.

Otaño started the inning harmlessly, inducing a listless pop-out. It all went downhill from there. 

Emeralds were loving it, creating ensuing dugout debauchery. Hops players were hating it, just wanting the inning to end — or an out. 

He walked three straight, bringing in Cerda who didn’t fare much better.

His outing began harmlessly as well, inducing another pop-out. Four straight batters came to the plate, four straight batters reached on base-on-balls as P.K Park shook with an avalanche of glee.

The damage seemed to be nulled for a moment as Justin Wishikowski rolled a grounder to the third baseman.The throw was nowhere close, only adding an embarrassing punctuation to a downright abysmal inning. 

Ben Madison was terrific again, earning the save and working a scoreless, hitless bottom of the ninth. 

Only making matters worse, Hillsboro rolled into Eugene late via the amber-alert-induced delay, forcing the Hops to cancel on-field batting practice. Even that couldn’t compare to the seven-walk catastrophe that ensued. 

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 www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or call the Emeralds front office at 541-342-5367. •Emeraldsbaseball.com • Facebook.com/EugeneEmeraldsfanpage • Twitter.com/EugeneEmeralds