#MiLB: @EugeneEmeralds Alone Atop High-A West

Ems Put Away Pesky Canadians In Ten To Take Sole Possession Of First

HILLSBORO – A day that was filled with noteworthy Emeralds news finished about as wildly as it started.

The Eugene Emeralds (17-9) moved into sole possession of first place the High-A West on Wednesday evening, but it sure wasn’t easy. It took extra innings as the Ems clawed their way to a 6-5 win over the Vancouver Canadians (15-11) on Wednesday night at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, Oregon.

For the second consecutive game to open the six-game set in Hillsboro, the Emeralds took the game’s first lead in the game’s first inning after drawing three consecutive walks to load the bases before Franklin Labour delivered a two-RBI single to put Eugene in front, 2-1.

As would become a recurring theme throughout the night, the Canadians immediately responded with a run in the bottom of the first to make it 2-1, a score that held through four innings of play.

The Ems made it a 3-1 advantage in the fifth on an RBI single from Logan Wyatt that scored Simon Whiteman, and, despite it being a mere two-run margin, it seemed a comfortable one as RHP Conner Nurse continued to keep the Canadians bats at bay by allowing just two hits through the game’s first five innings.

Tough luck nagged Nurse in a big way in the sixth, though, as some bad bounces off the trampoline-like turf at The ‘Tonk saw the C’s tally three extra base hits and two runs in the frame, ultimately chasing Nurse and tying the game at 3-3.

Patrick Bailey responded for the Emeralds in the seventh to regain a one-run lead with an RBI single to right, but the Canadians again countered with a run in the bottom half of the seventh to tie the game once more, this time at 4-4.

Jacob Gonzalez seemingly delivered the knockout blow in the eighth with a monster solo homer to left, his first four-bagger of the season, to give the Emeralds a 5-4 lead with just six Canadians outs to go.

It remained 5-4 until the ninth when leadoff man Tanner Kirwer started the inning with a seeing-eye infield single on an 0-2 count, stole second, advanced to third on said stolen base after a throwing error by Bailey, and then came home to score on a Tanner Morris single to tie the game at 5-5 and force free baseball upon the Emeralds.

It took only one inning for the Emeralds to (again) regain the lead, and they did so without mustering a single hit. With Labour starting the inning on second, Gonzalez and Tyler Flores each drew walks to load the bases. That resulted in Emeralds manager Dennis Pelfrey going to his bench to bring in Will Wilson to pinch hit and make his first plate appearance since exiting Sunday’s game.

Turns out, Wilson’s bat wasn’t needed as a wild pitch from Vancouver’s Parker Caracci allowed Labour to score and put the Ems back in front, 6-5.

In the home half of the tenth, John Russell made quick work of the C’s by setting them down in order to pick up the win and wrap a wild one in Hillsboro.

With the Everett AquaSox (16-10) losing on Wednesday night, the Emeralds move into sole possession of first place in the High-A West.

The Ems and Canadians face off again on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Ron Tonkin Field.


  • Winning Pitcher: John Russell (3-0, 2.70 ERA): 2.0 IP | 2 H | 1 R | 0 ER | 0 BB | 2 K
  • Losing Pitcher: Parker Caracci (2-2, 1.93 ERA): 2.0 IP | 0 H | 1 R | 0 ER | 4 BB | 3 K
  • Save: N/A
  • HR(s): Eugene: Jacob Gonzalez: 1st | Vancouver: N/A

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  • Conner Nurse – RHP: The box score might not show it, but Nurse battled all night long and was deserving of being the winning pitcher of record despite taking the no decision. Nurse finished the night with a season-high 5.1 IP, five hits, and two earned runs allowed.
  • John Russell – RHP: Speaking of guys that didn’t quite get what they deserved, Russell may have gotten the win (his third of the season) but he perhaps should have gotten the save in the ninth if not for some tough luck. Nevertheless, Russell rebounded nicely to pitch a 1-2-3 tenth and seal the win for the Emeralds.
  • Simon Whiteman – 2B: Whiteman reached base in four-of-five plate appearances on Wednesday night, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two walks, two stolen bases, and two runs scored. Whiteman is now a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen base attempts this season.
  • Patrick Bailey – C: The Emeralds backstop had another solid night at the plate, reaching in three-of-five plate appearances while tallying his fourteenth RBI of the season, good for second on the team behind Tyler Fitzgerald.