The Eugene Emeralds (46-28, 22-15 second half), beat the Spokane Indians (27-47, 15-21 second half) 8-2 Wednesday night at PK Park behind some early offense and a strong performance from starting pitcher Tayron Guerrero.
Indians’ starting pitcher Connor Sadzeck (L, 1-4) struggled with his command early and often, walking Emeralds’ shortstop Stephen Carmon and right fielder Corey Adamson to start the first inning, then allowing an opposite field single to left fielder Jeremy Baltz to load the bases. Second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum put the Emeralds on the board with a double to left field, scoring both Carmon and Adamson.
After catcher Rodney Daal drew yet another walk, designated hitter Edwin Moreno grounded out, scoring Jeremy Baltz. First baseman Goose Kallunki then ripped a line drive that was caught by Indians’ third baseman Joey Gallo, who stepped on third base to double up a diving Tissenbaum and end the inning.
The Emeralds continued to pile on in the second inning, beginning with a couple of 1-out walks by center fielder Alberth Martinez and Carmon. Adamson singled to load the bases, which Baltz promptly cleared with a double to left center field on the first pitch.
Following a Tissenbaum walk, the sixth issued by Sadzeck in his two-inning outing, Daal singled to center field, scoring Baltz and extending the Emeralds’ lead to 7-0.
Sadzeck finished with seven earned runs by way of five hits and six walks.
Despite fighting control issues of his own, Emeralds’ starting pitcher Tayron Guerrero threw four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and five walks.
“Guerrero gave us a great start, and this kid’s an inexperienced kid,” said Emeralds Manager Pat Murphy. “Great temperament, great poise for a kid in that situation.”
Indians’ catcher Joe Maloney, called out on strikes in the top of third inning, was ejected by home plate umpire Rickey Tucker for arguing the call. After the Indians’ manager charged onto the field to argue further, Maloney came back and ultimately body-bumped the umpire before returning to the dugout and throwing his bat and helmet against the wall.
The Ems threatened again in the third inning, when Kallunki singled to center field. However, third baseman Felix Cabrera followed by grounding into a double play. In the fourth inning, Carmon led off with a single to right field, and with two outs, Tissenbaum hit a single of his own. The rally came to a halt, however, when Daal grounded out to third base.
In the sixth inning, the Emeralds rallied once again, starting with singles from Carmon and Baltz. Tissenbaum followed with yet another single, scoring Carmon and pushing the Emeralds’ lead to 8-0. The Toronto native and Stony Brook alum’s base knock represented his ninth consecutive plate appearance resulting in a hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch, dating back to Monday night.
“I think it’s just focusing on getting good pitches,” said Tissenbaum of his recent success. “You kind of go into a stretch where you start to see it really well.
The Indians finally responded in the top of the seventh inning, with a two-out rally that started with a Preston Beck single. Guy Edmonds then doubled to left field, scoring Beck. Emeralds left-handed relief pitcher Mark Picca was removed after pitching two and two-thirds of an inning, having allowed two hits and thrown for two strikeouts.
Right-handed relief pitcher Collin Reynolds (W, 4-0) then entered the game and allowed a double to Smerling Lantigua, scoring Edmonds and pushing the tally to 8-2, Emeralds.
Across the Northwest League, the Vancouver Canadians defeated the Yakima Bears 3-2, keeping the Emeralds’ West Division second-half lead at a half-game. The second-half winner of the division earns a playoff berth, and the Emeralds must finish a full game ahead of the Canadians because Vancouver owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
In other league news, The Northwest League All-Stars were announced on Wednesday, and representing the Emeralds will be right-handed relief pitcher Roman Madrid and left-handed relief pitcher Chris Nunn. Madrid, 6-0 with a 2.41 ERA entering Wednesday’s game, is tied for the Northwest League lead with 13 saves. Nunn, 3-0 with a 0.62 ERA entering Wednesday’s game, leads the Northwest League with a 13.19 SO/9 IP ratio, with 43 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.
The entire team is as follows:
1B – Taylor Ard, Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners)
2B – Gioskar Amaya, Boise Hawks (Chicago Cubs)
3B – Patrick Kivlehan, Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners)
SS – Jorge Flores, Vancouver Canadians (Toronto Blue Jays)
DH – Taylor Ard, Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners)
Catcher – Mike Zunino, Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners)
OF – Francisco Sosa, Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies)
OF – Royce Bolinger, Spokane Indians (Texas Rangers)
OF – Kyle Von Tungeln, Tri-City Dust Devils (Colorado Rockies)
LP – Alexander Carreras, Yakima Bears (Arizona Diamondbacks)
RP – Javier Avendano, Vancouver Canadians (Toronto Blue Jays)
L Relief – Christopher Nunn, Eugene Emeralds (San Diego Padres)
R Relief – Roman Madrid, Eugene Emeralds (San Diego Padres)
Manager of the Year – Clayton McCullough, Vancouver Canadians (Toronto Blue Jays)
Most Valuable Player – Patrick Kivlehan, Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners)
The Emeralds will continue their five-game series with the Indians on Thursday night at 7:05 PM at PK Park.