Eugene Emeralds Baseball

Ninth Inning Rally Rockets Eugene Emeralds Into First Place

Ems claim sole possession of first place in the High-A West for the first time since early July

HILLSBORO – The Eugene Emeralds (59-45) roared back against the Hillsboro Hops (45-57) on Tuesday night behind a three-run ninth inning that put the Emeralds back into sole possession of first place in the High-A West after a 6-5 victory at Ron Tonkin Field.

Fresh off a frustrating six-game series that saw the Ems drop five-of six against the Tri-City Dust Devils while missing out on (multiple) chances to take sole possession of first place, the Emeralds kicked off the second half of their two-week roadtrip on Tuesday night in what was the start of the final series against the in-state rivals, the Hillsboro Hops, who entered the week well out of playoff contention and aiming to play spoiler.

The night started as well as Eugene could ask for as a Hops error and some small ball on the part of the Emeralds resulted in a 1-0 lead for the Ems right from the start.

Ismael Munguia offered at the very first pitch of the game, chopping a grounder up the middle that glanced off the glove of Hillsboro second baseman Ronny Simon and ricocheted into center field to allow Munguia to reach second base. Back-to-back sacrifices in the ensuing at-bats then brought Munguia home as Brett Auerbach moved Munguia up ninety feet with a bunt down the third base line and Armani Smith then scored the speedy center fielder with a fly ball to deep right field that put Eugene up first, 1-0.

The early lead was short-lived for the Emeralds, though, as Hillsboro responded in the home half off the inning when Tristin English mashed a two-out, 0-2 pitch into the Emeralds bullpen for a two-run homer to put the Hops in front after one, 2-1.

Hillsboro made it 3-1 in the second on an Axel Andueza RBI double that scored Nick Dalesandro, but Eugene leveled the score soon thereafter as Armani Smith tallied his second RBI of the night in the third by singling home Ismael Munguia, who had reached two batters prior on a one-out triple, and Jairo Pomares tied it up in the fourth by blasting his second homer as an Emerald, a 410-foot blast more than halfway up the screen in right field that knotted the game at 3-3.

However, yet again, it did not take long for Hillsboro to respond. The Hops retook the lead just minutes later in the bottom of the fourth as Nick Dalesandro followed a Cam Coursey leadoff triple with a double that scored Coursey, and Leodany Perez later singled home Dalesandro to put the Hops back up by two, 5-3.

It stayed 5-3 all the way until the ninth as Hillsboro’s pitching staff retired fifteen consecutive Emeralds batters following Pomares’ fourth inning blast, but that all changed when Nick Snyder entered out of the bullpen for Hillsboro aiming to earn the save.

Snyder entered the night with a 3.89 ERA while going 5-for-8 in save opportunities with the Hops this season, but all three blown saves had come against the Emeralds as the towering southpaw took the hill with an ERA of 8.00 over nine prior appearances against Eugene.

Armani Smith led off the inning by working a five-pitch walk to bring the potential tying run to the plate in the form of red-hot Sean Roby, but the Emeralds’ clean-up hitter promptly struck out on three pitches to put Snyder and the Hops just two outs away from sealing the win.

Up stepped Jairo Pomares, and once again Pomares left the yard. The smooth-swinging outfielder rocketed his second homer of the night to right, launching it 110 MPH off the bat to tie the game with a two-run laser that stunned those still left in the stands at Ron Tonkin Field.

The woes were far from over for Snyder and the Hops, though, as after Marco Luciano followed in the ensuing at-bat by sneaking a single through the infield away from the shift, a Nick Snyder balk then allowed Luciano to advance into scoring position. Moments later, Logan Wyatt brought Luciano him home by slicing a single to left that landed just in front of a diving Leodany Perez to put the Emeralds in front for the first time since the first inning, 6-5.

In the ninth, Chris Wright struck out two batters while working around a two-out single to earn his league-leading thirteenth save of the season and seal a comeback win to start the series as Eugene downed the Hops, 6-5.

In the process, Travis Perry moved back into the High-A West lead for wins (10) after Spokane’s Chris McMahon briefly tied Perry by earning his ninth win in Spokane’s 4-2 victory over Tri-City on Tuesday night.

Coupled with Everett’s 9-8 loss to the Vancouver Canadians, Eugene moved back into sole possession of first place in the High-A West for the first time since July 2. Eugene leads Everett by just 0.5 game while the Spokane Indians loom just 1.5 games back.

The Eugene Emeralds continue their six-game series against the Hops in Hillsboro on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.


  • Winning Pitcher: Travis Perry (10-1, 2.75 ERA): 1.2 IP | 1 H | 0 R | 2 BB | 1 K
  • Losing Pitcher: Nick Snyder (2-7, 4.50 ERA): 1.0 IP | 3 H | 3 R | 3 ER | 1 BB | 3 K
  • Save: Chris Wright (13)
  • HR(s): Eugene: Pomares 2 (2, 3) | Hillsboro: English (10)

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  • Jairo Pomares – LF: Pomares accounted for half of the run production for the Emeralds on Tuesday night, belting two homers while finishing the night 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
  • Logan Wyatt – 1B: Wyatt’s only base knock was a big one, delivering what proved to be the game-winning hit with two outs in the ninth.
  • Austin Reich – RHP: The fiery right-hander helped stem the tide during the middle innings firing 3.0 innings with just one hit, no walks, no runs allowed and three strikeouts.