The Eugene Emeralds managed just two hits in their 3-2 loss to the Tri-City Dust Devils, the first game of a five-game series. The Dust Devils committed three errors, which the Ems capitalized on, helping them score two runs despite the low hit total.
Eugene got the scoring started early, plating a run in the first inning. Ronnie Richardson led off the game with a single and advanced to third on a throwing error by shortstop Patrick Valaika, who fielded a ground ball hit by Anthony Torres and misfired to second base. Hunter Renfroe drove in Richardson with a sacrifice fly to left field, putting the Ems up 1-0.
Tri-City responded in the home half of the inning. With two outs, Michael Tauchman reached first on an error by Trae Santos to keep the inning alive. It continued when Valaika and Sean Dwyer drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Michael Benjamin came through with a two-run single to give the Dust Devils the early 2-1 advantage.
Eugene’s only other hit of the game came in the fifth inning, a single by Marcus Davis. Fortunately for the Ems, they once again capitalized on Tri-City’s mistakes, scoring their second run in the sixth following a pair of errors. With Renfroe aboard and two outs, Santos reached base safely on a throwing error by Cesar Galvez, then Santos advanced to second while Renfroe scored on an error by catcher Chris O’Dowd.
The Ems got out of a jam in the sixth when a single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with two outs, but reliever Tyler Hale induced Kyle Von Tungeln to ground out to retire the side. Tri-City added a run in the seventh, though, when Dwyer hit a sac fly to right scoring O’Dowd.
The Ems drew a walk in both the eighth and ninth innings, but to no avail. Shane Broyles and Dust Devils closer Trent Daniel shut the door, securing the victory.
Eugene starter Jimmy Brasoban pitched well over four innings, allowing two un-earned runs on four hits with four punch-outs, lowering his ERA to 2.93. The 19-year-old right-hander has been one of Eugene’s most reliable starting pitchers this season, consistently lasting five innings and holding opposing hitters to a .185 average. Relievers Tony Rizzotti, Hale (1-1) and Josh Richardson were effective, but the two runs that resulted from the Santos error were the Ems’ downfall.
Antonio Senzatela, Broyles (4-0) and Daniel combined to shut down Eugene’s bats, recording 10 strikeouts against two walks with both runs being un-earned.
Three Emeralds will represent the South Division in the Northwest League All-Star Game – the league’s first since 2004. Brasoban (2-2, 2.93) will be joined by fellow pitcher Erik Schoenrock (2-3, 2.98) as well as Santos (.271, 3 HR, 16 RBI) and Richardson (.288, 2 HR, 12 RBI). The game will take place on August 6 at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett, Washington.