It was Christmas in July on Wednesday night at PK Park, and the Eugene Emeralds were rewarded for their good behavior with a 5-1 win over the Boise Hawks. The victory pulls the three-game series even at one win aside with the rubber match set for Thursday night.
The bats were alive and well for the Ems, who belted two home runs and added three doubles and one triple. Hunter Renfroe contributed two extra-base hits, an RBI double in the fourth and a long home run to left field in the sixth. Renfroe went 3-for-4 on the night with two runs scored and two runs batted in. Fernando Perez also added some pop, hitting his second homer of the season and adding a double to round out his 2-for-3, 2 RBI night.
Aside from improved hitting, the Ems pitching staff was in complete control all night, led by starter Christian Miller.
“It was a good game, it started with the pitching. Christian Miller did a great job,” said manager Jim Gabella. “He gave us a spot start and did a great job for four innings.”
Miller allowed four hits and no runs in his four innings of work, striking out two and walking one along the way. The 6-foot-3-inch lefty was recently promoted from the Arizona Rookie League and made his first start for the Emeralds.
Unfortunately for Miller, four innings weren’t enough to get credit for the win. Jeffrey Enloe picked up the win in relief (2-2), and was helped by bullpen mates Josh Richardson and Adam Cimber.
“[Richardson] and the rest of the guys took over, it was quality, quality pitching today,” Gabella said of his bullpen, which combined to allow a single run on five hits through five innings.
Boise’s lone run of the ballgame came in the eighth inning on a fielder’s choice, scoring Jacob Hannemann and crediting Yasiel Balaguert with the RBI.
Eugene didn’t score in bunches, rather they slowly added to their lead inning by inning. Renfroe and Henry Charles hit back-to-back doubles to account for the game’s first run in the fourth, and they were followed by Perez two batters later, who rapped the Ems’ third double of the inning, allowing Charles to score from second.
Renfroe would add on in the sixth, when he tattooed a ball well over the left field fence for his third home run of the season. Perez continued the theme an inning later, hitting a towering home run to right center, increasing Eugene’s lead to 4-0. Ronnie Richardson added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, scoring Felipe Blanco who tripled to lead off the inning.
Boise matched Eugene in the hits column with nine, but went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine men on base. Logier Padron (2-3) was saddled with the loss, and relievers Jasvir Rakkar and Eddie Orozco each allowed at least one run, adding insult to injury.
The series will commence Thursday with projected starting pitchers Duane Underwood (BOI) and Erik Cabrera (EUG).