First Place Ems Cap Homestand With Comeback Win

Emeralds Come From Behind To Take Series Against Tri-City

EUGENE, OR – The Eugene Emeralds (7-4) picked up their second series win of the season on Monday night thanks to a come-from-behind, 5-3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Dust Devils (4-7) at PK Park.

Despite the victory, the start of the game was far from ideal for the nearly 3,000 Emeralds fans in the stands. For the second consecutive night, TC jumped out to the early lead, but it wasn’t without controversy.

With a runner on third and two outs, it appeared as if the Emeralds had gotten out of an early jam when Carlos Luis grounded out softly for the frame’s third out. However, after nearly all of the Ems field players had comfortably reached the dugout, umpires Bryan Van Vranken and Willie Traynor summoned the Ems out of the dugout after ruling that catcher’s interference on behalf of Jonathan Soto had occurred, therefore prolonging the top half of the first.

The Dust Devils would waste no time taking advantage of their second chance. With the bases loaded after a Jason Pineda walk, Nick Gatewood delivered a line drive single to right field, scoring a pair of runs to put TC ahead early, 2-0. The Dust Devils added another when Mason House followed with an RBI single of his own to score Jason Pineda and make it 3-0.

Just like the night prior, though, the Dust Devils lead was short-lived.

After a leadoff walk drawn by Danny Zardon started the bottom half of the second, Emeralds third baseman Yonathan Perlaza reached base thanks to a fielding error by TC third baseman Carlos Luis. Two batters later, a seeing-eye, slow-rolling grounder off the bat of Edmond Americaan left TC shortstop Jordy Barley with no play at any base, allowing Zardon to score from third to put the Ems on the scoreboard.

Jonathan Soto followed in the next at-bat with an RBI single on a line drive to center field, cutting the TC lead to 3-2. With runners on the corners, Dust Devils manager Mike McCoy yanked starter Jason Blanchard in favor of left-hander Ramon Perez, but Perez immediately ran into even more trouble. A wild pitch to the first batter he faced, Brandon Vicens, allowed Americaan to score easily from third and tie the game at 3-3.
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Later in the same at-bat, Vicens delivered a single to center field that scored Soto, who had advanced to second base on the Perez wild pitch, putting the Emeralds in front, 4-3.

In the third, second-year Emerald Jake Slaughter delivered an opposite-field solo blast to double the Ems’ advantage, the first home run of the season for the Louisiana State product and the second of his pro career, both as a Eugene Emerald.

While Slaughter’s slam was more than welcome by both Emeralds teammates and fans like, it proved to be only an insurance run as the pitching staff shined over the game’s final six innings. Right-hander Niels Stone replaced lefty Chris Allen to start the fourth inning, and Stone excelled in his first-career appearance at PK Park tossing four scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and two walks along with two strikeouts.

Michigan State product Riley McCauley entered in the eighth and ultimately finished the game, netting five of the six outs via strikeout, but it also came with little drama.

After cruising through the eighth inning, McCauley found trouble in the ninth and eventually loaded the bases thanks to a single and a pair of walks drawn by TC batters. With the PK Park crowd on their feet and two outs, McCauley struck out Jason Pineda to cap the two-inning save and seal a 5-3 win for the Ems.

With the win, the Emeralds have now won two of the team’s three series to start the season and still find themselves in a tie atop the Northwest League’s South Division.