EUGENE – The Eugene Emeralds (47-34) continued to close the gap on first place Everett on Thursday night thanks to a 7-4 victory over the visiting Tri-City Dust Devils (31-50) in the third game of a six-game series at PK Park.
The primary storyline entering Thursday night’s game was, of course, Marco Luciano.
The 19-year-old phenom that is widely considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball was officially added to the Emeralds roster on Wednesday after the San Francisco Giants opted to promote the shortstop from Low-A San Jose to High-A Eugene.
Fittingly enough, it was Luciano who got the scoring started in his Emeralds debut.
Coming to the plate in the third with runners on second and third after a Robert Emery single and an Ismael Munguia bloop double, respectively, Luciano laced the first pitch he saw into the left field corner to easily score both runners and put the Emeralds in the driver’s seat, 2-0.
One batter later, Luciano was able to take his time coming home as Armani Smith roasted a 2-2 offering 431 feet to left, nicking the light tower on what was his fifth homer of the season and doubling Eugene’s lead with one swing, 4-0.
The Dust Devils, who were fresh off being shutout by the Ems the night prior, began chipping into Eugene’s lead in the fifth, starting with a Griffin Mazur sac fly that scored Kyle Kasser from third to trim Tri-City’s deficit to three.
One inning later, Oregon Duck Kenyon Yovan came through with his second double in as many days, this one driving home Kevin Maitan to make it 4-2. Three batters later, after a Kyle Kasser single and a Francisco Del Valle strikeout, Griffin Mazur doubled a pair of Ducks home in the form of Yovan and Kasser to tie the game at 4-4.
The Emeralds offense, which struggled leaving runners on base through the first few frames, came through to retake the lead in the seventh. With the bases loaded, no outs and Carter Adrete at the plate, the versatile infielder belted a double to the right-center field gap to bring home a pair of runs and put the Ems back in front, 6-4. Two batters later, Ismael Munguia added another run for the Ems with an RBI single to center that put Eugene up by three, 7-4.
Eugene’s bullpen kept the Tri-City offense in check the rest of the way as the Ems won their third consecutive game to start the home series against the visiting Dust Devils, 7-4.
Eugene got 5.0 innings out of a starting pitcher for the third consecutive night as right-hander Aaron Phillips fired 5.1 innings with five hits, three walks, four earned runs and four strikeouts.
Closer Chris Wright moved to 12-for-12 in save opportunities this season after striking out two of four batters faced in the ninth inning.
The Eugene Emeralds continue their series with the Tri-City Dust Devils (Los Angeles Angels) on Friday at PK Park. Friday is Family 4-Pack Friday where fans can use the promo code ‘FAM4’ at EmeraldsBaseball.com to get four box seat tickets for just $48.
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