Knight’s Big Night Fuels Win At Sold Out PK Park

Knight homers, Hill goes 4-for-5, and Jensen is solid in his third professional start as the bats wake up in a big way to snap the skid

EUGENE, OR – The Eugene Emeralds (1-1, 17-23) bounced back in impressive fashion on Wednesday evening, picking up an 8-3 win over the Boise Hawks (1-1, 16-24) in front of 4,886 fans at PK Park.

Coming off a frustrating shutout loss to the Hawks the day prior, the Ems aimed to bounce back and get to .500 on just the second day of the second half of the Northwest League season.

Eugene’s offence carried a 23-inning scoreless streak into the evening, but that was quickly put to rest in the bottom of the first inning. With Darius Hill on second base after leading off the inning with a double, Chase Strumpf followed with a double of his own two batters later, easily scoring Hill and putting the Emeralds ahead early, 1-0.

It took only one pitch into the bottom of the third inning for the Ems to double their lead. Catcher Caleb Knight turned on the first offering he saw from Boise starting pitcher Alfredo Garcia, launching a no-doubter over the left field fence for his second home run of the season. For batters later, after an Edmond Americaan single, Jake Slaughter smacked a towering triple to center field, just barely staying inside the yard but still providing plenty of time for Americaan to score, making it 3-0.

Boise responded in the top half of the fourth to cut their deficit back to one. Back-to-back one-out singles by the Hawks put runners on first and second, and back-to-back walks issued to the next two batters forced home Michael Toglia from third, making it 3-1. One batter later, a would-be inning-ending double play ball was booted by Luis Diaz at second, allowing Bladimir Restituyo to scamper home and cut Eugene’s lead to one.

However, it wouldn’t be long until the Emeralds restored their three-run lead. In the bottom of the fourth, Zac Taylor and Grayson Byrd drew back-to-back walks, respectively, to lead off the inning, and Caleb Knight delivered a bloop single to center field two batters later to bring home Taylor and make it a 4-2 game. Hill followed with a broken-bat single in the very next at-bat, scoring Byrd and putting the Emeralds back up by three.
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Boise added a run in the top of the sixth on an Ezequiel Tovar RBI single to briefly cut their deficit back to two, but the Emeralds would once again respond in the bottom half of the inning. With runners on the corners and two outs, Hill rocketed a line drive off Hawks first baseman Michael Toglia and into right field, scoring Taylor from third to put the Emeralds back up by three. Two batters later, a wild pitch by Hawks pitcher Cameron Enck gave Knight just enough daylight to scamper home and score, making it a 7-3 game.

Eugene added one more run in the eighth thanks to a throwing error from Hawks second baseman Vladimir Dilone that allowed Hill to round third and score from second, stretching the Ems’ lead to 8-3, and John Pomeroy shut the door in the ninth to seal the victory for the Emeralds.

Emeralds starting pitcher and 2019 first rounder Ryan Jensen put forth his second straight solid outing on the mound tossing 2.0 scoreless, hitless innings while allowing just one walk and striking out four batters. Chris Kachmar picked up his fourth win in relief, tying him for the second-most wins in the NWL. The right-hander tossed 2.1 innings with three hits, one earned run, one walk and three strikeouts. Hunter Bigge impressed in his relief effort, firing 2.0 scoreless, hitless innings while issuing only one walk and striking out four Hawks batters.

At the plate, catcher Calen Knight stole the show going 2-for-2 with two runs, a HR, and two RBI while also getting hit by a pitch on two separate occasions. Darius Hill also had an impressive night at the dish going 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs.

The Ems will look to win the series against the Hawks on Thursday evening at 7:05pm PST at PK Park. Thursday is Animal House Night, a yearly favorite at PK Park, as well as a $3 Thursday featuring $3 box seats, $3 parking, $3 32 oz. Pepsi fountain drinks, and discounted Hamm’s Tall Boys.