It was a rough to start for the Eugene Emeralds 15-11 (39-24) who allowed two runs in the first inning to Salem-Keizer 12-13 (25-38), but a strong finish gave the Ems’ third straight series victory. The Ems’ won 3-2 on Saturday night with five hits and two errors, while the Volcanoes hit on base six times with no errors.
LF Jeremy Baltz once again came through with a big bat, hitting 3-of-3 with two doubles and three RBIs. Baltz now has a season batting average of .278 with 13 doubles and 31 RBIs. He’s been hot of late, too, hitting .313 in his last 10 games as well as a .436 OBP.
Baltz recorded three of the team’s five hits and all three RBIs. His bases clearing double in the seventh inning scored all three runs the Ems would need. Alberth Martinez also had a big performance, hitting 1-of-2 with a double, a run scored, and two walks. His season BA of .271 is a remarkable improvement from last season’s .129 average.
The Ems had opportunities to score throughout the game, but only went 1-of-9 with runners in scoring position.
Offensively, the Volcanoes actually got one more hit than the Ems. Second basemen Ryan Jones (batting ninth) went 2-of-4 with a double, but was never driven in. Salem-Keizer struggled even more than the Ems with RISP, going 1-of-11 with seven runners left on base.
Eugene used five different pitchers during the game, with Joseph Ross opening with four innings, two runs, a walk and six strikeouts. Brandon Alger pitched two innings allowing two hits, two walks and two strikeouts, replacing Ross.
Joe Church (4-2) was the winning pitcher for the Ems with a one inning performance in which he allowed one hit. Mark Picca and Christopher Hunn each pitched one inning to close the ball game with both pitchers striking out all three batters they faced. Hunn received his third save of the season.
Eugene is in second place in the West Division, just one game behind the Vancouver Canadians 16-10 (38-25). Last place Everett was the winner of the first half of the season, meaning that the second spot is still up for grabs. Salem Keizer, 3.5 games back, don’t appear to be a threat to win the division. Eugene must have the best second-half record to make the post season.
In the East Division, the Boise Hawks 17-8 (30-33) appear to be running away with it. They hold a 6-game lead over Yakima (winners of the first-half) and a 7-game lead over Spokane. Boise is winner of their last three and seven of ten.
If the standings remain the way they are, Boise and Yakima would be representatives in the East with Vancouver and Everett representing the West. Eugene is still very much in the hunt for Vancouver’s spot.
Note– Eugene plays eight games on the road (three versus Everett and five versus Tri-City) before five home games against Spokane to end the regular season.