Ems’ Bullpen Dominates in Series Opener Win
It was another night of dominant pitching for the (21-12) Eugene Emeralds on Thursday night at PK Park as Eugene notched up their ninth win in the last ten games, defeating the (12-22) Boise Hawks 2-1.
The Ems got off to the right start in the first inning. After a leadoff walk, Ronnie Richardson stole second, his fifth stolen base of the season. Maxx Tissenbaum singled on a line drive to left to drive in Richardson for his third RBI of the year.
Just about 30 minutes into the game however, dark clouds mixed with some thunder and lightning forced umpires to delay the game for 20 minutes until the lightning cleared for player’s safety. The lightning cleared, and the game was able to resume.
Emeralds manager Pat Murphy went to the bullpen early and often in the game, pulling starter Chris Wilkes after 2.2 innings. Wilkes gave up one run on two hits, but had some control issues as he walked four batters.
After stalling for a few innings, the Emeralds were able to reclaim the lead in the home half of the fifth inning thanks to an RBI double from River Stevens, his eleventh of the year. Eugene would threaten to add to their lead with Stevens advancing to third on a single, but Jeremy Baltz would strike out looking to end the inning and the scoring threat.
The Ems dodged a bullet in the top of the seventh when a seemingly routine fly ball off the bat of Xavier Batista to left field was misplayed by Cory Adamson. The ball reached the wall, but Adamson was able to gun down Batista, who would have been the tying run for Boise. Instead, Ems’ reliever Genison Reyes was able to leave the inning without allowing any other base runners.
While the Ems scrapped together just two runs on five hits, their bullpen made sure that would be all they needed. After Wilkes left early, due to a pitch count limit, the bullpen did not allow a single hit the rest of the game. Church, Reyes, Toby Wieber, and Roman Madrid combined for 6.1 innings, allowing just one walk while striking out eight. Reyes, who pitched three perfect innings, was credited with the win, while Madrid came in to close out the game for his ninth save of the season.
“That’s the kind of stuff Reyes has,” said Ems’ manager Pat Murphy. “He flashes that every now and then, and that was impressive.”
The Ems’ bullpen has been nothing short of dominant as of late, giving up only five runs in their last 52 innings pitched.
“I’m proud of them,” said Murphy. “They come in every night. They understand their job. They understand we’re not exactly an offensive juggernaut just yet.”
The Emeralds improved to 21-12 on the year as they try to make a push towards first place. Eugene is 3.5 games behind the first place Everett AquaSox, who are 25-9 on the season. The series continues tonight against Boise with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. Felix Pena (0-1, 2.91 ERA) will take the mound for the Hawks, while the starter for the Emeralds is yet to be announced.