#MiLB: Ems Fall In Wild, Wacky Eleventh Inning

PASCO – The Eugene Emeralds started the season red hot, but have cooled off considerably since.

The Ems (9-6) did well enough to force an eleventh inning on Thursday night, but it was all for naught as the Tri-City Dust Devils (5-10) walked off in extras to hand Eugene a heartbreaking 7-6 loss at Gesa Stadium.

Coming into the series on a nine-game skid, the Dust Devils have now won two straight against the Ems. Plating two runs on a 2-RBI single from Francisco Del Valle in the bottom of the first to take the game’s first lead, 2-0.

Three innings later, after Franklin Torres reached on a seeing-eye swinging bunt, Torres came into score on a Carlos Herrera single to center that extended the TC lead to three.

Meanwhile, one day removed from Emeralds LHP Seth Corry holding the Dust Devils bats hitless through four innings, Tri-City starter RHP Hector Yan rudely returned the favor, stymieing the typically potent Emeralds offense by holding them hitless through the first four frames.

Oddly, the Emeralds plated their first run before they had notched their first hit cutting the deficit to 3-1 when Brandon Martorano scored from third on a passed ball after previously drawing a one-out walk, moving to second when Carter Aldrete walked, and then advancing to third on a sac bunt from Simon Whiteman.

Moments later, the Emeralds finally did net their first hit, and they did it in awkward-yet-effective fashion as an Ismael Munguia squibber ricocheted off Yan before softly rolling to a stop in the infield, providing Aldrete enough daylight to score from third to make it a 3-2 game.

In the sixth, Diego Rincones tied the game with one swing of the bat, a bomb fit for nearby Richland as the Venezuelan belted his fourth four-bagger of the season to tie the game at 3-3.
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The Dust Devils retook the lead in the seventh when Francisco Del Valle – who did much of the heavy lifting offensively for the Dust Devils on Thursday night – turned on a Ryan Walker offering and sent it up and over the right field wall, a solo shot to make it a 4-3 game in favor of the home side.

That held until the ninth when, after Labour and Martorano drew back-to-back walks on full counts and another well-placed Aldrete bunt advanced each ninety feet, pinch hitter Logan Wyatt rolled a soft grounder to second that allowed Labour to score uncontested, tying the game at 4-4 and thereby forcing free baseball upon the less-than-thrilled crowd at Gesa Stadium.

The Ems loaded the bases with two outs in the tenth but were unable to score, but after holding the Dust Devils scoreless themselves in the home half, Eugene took their first lead of the game in the top of the eleventh thanks to defensive replacement Javeyan Williams. Williams, who had entered in the bottom of the ninth in center field, came to the plate for his first at-bat of the game in the eleventh and promptly roped a double down the right field line that scored two runs to put the Ems in the driver’s seat, 6-4.

It was up to Nick Avila in the home half to close out the improbable comeback victory for the Emeralds, but the Dust Devils decided to not be gracious hosts to their guests.

Despite at one point being down to their final strike, TC refused to wave the white flag, and after a Livian Soto sac fly scored a run to cut Eugene’s lead to 6-5, Brendon Davis hit a high pop fly into what can only be described as awkward territory in shallow left field, forcing Emeralds SS Will Wilson to attempt to make a twisting, contorting grab which he was ultimately unable to make, and that allowed runners on both third and first to score to give the Dust Devils a dramatic 7-6 walk-off win.

The Tri-City Dust Devils will go for the series sweep tonight at 6:35 p.m. at Gesa Stadium in Pasco. The Emeralds return home the following week when they will start a six-game series against Spokane on May 25.