Consistency was the key for the Eugene Emeralds Tuesday night.
The Emeralds scored runs in each of the first seven innings and held the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes scoreless en route to an 11-0 victory at PK Park.
Eugene (10-2) got its seventh consecutive win, capitalizing on a sterling performance by starter Matt Andriese, who gave up four hits and two walks in five shutout innings, striking out six Volcanoes batters.
“(Andriese)’s been on it, last start in Salem and then here,” first-year Emeralds manager Pat Murphy said. “He’s getting ahead with his fastball, and he’s not afraid to throw his changeup.”
Once Andriese left the game, the Emeralds’ relievers were up to the task. Luis De La Cruz threw a perfect sixth inning before Will Scott threw three shutout innings to record a save (despite the Emeralds’ 10-0 lead at the time he entered the game).
The Emeralds also roughed up Salem-Keizer (2-10) starter Brandon Allen, who surrendered six runs on six hits in four innings, striking out nobody, walking three and hitting two batters. The Emeralds scored three runs in the first inning, one run in the second, third and fourth innings, two in the fifth and sixth innings, and one more run in the seventh inning before finally being held scoreless in the eighth inning.
“We’ve got some momentum, and just keep rolling with it,” Emeralds third baseman Clint Moore said. “We played well, pitching staff did well, we swung the bat, so it was a good game.”
Moore and designated hitter Travis Whitmore each scored a run and had two RBI off Allen, with Whitmore hitting a two-run double in the first inning and Moore hitting an RBI double in the second inning and an RBI groundout in the fourth inning.
“Quietly, the Whitmore kid is just putting together some great at-bats,” Murphy said. Whitmore went 2 for 4 with a walk in Tuesday’s game.
Describing his double in the second inning, Moore said, “I got a first pitch that was up and over the plate and I just missed it, fouled it off. He threw me another one in the exact same spot, and I just looked to drive it backside and got it over the guy’s head and ended up with a double.”
Murphy labeled Moore the “unsung hero” of the Emeralds’ season so far.
“He’s been involved in every big win,” Murphy said. “He just makes it happen.”
New center fielder Kyle Gaedele also had an RBI double in the first inning and scored a run off Moore in the third inning. Gaedele replaced Donavan Tate, the San Diego Padres’ third overall draft pick in 2009, after Tate was suspended for 50 games in accordance with Major League Baseball’s substance abuse policy after failing a second drug test for marijuana. Tate’s suspension will be reduced to 25 games after he signed up to take substance abuse counseling earlier in his career.
“It’s a great opportunity for (Tate) to respond. I know who he is as a person and I know who he is as a teammate,” Murphy said. “It’s something important to his life. I didn’t even think about the lineup tonight.”
Emeralds second baseman Cory Spangenberg, who came into the game leading the short-season Single-A Northwest League in on-base percentage, reached all five times he came to the plate, walking in the first and second innings, hitting an infield single in the fourth inning, hitting an RBI double in the sixth inning and getting hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. Spangenberg scored in the first and sixth innings.
“We have great team chemistry and we’re just playing good baseball,” Spangenberg said. “We’re just swinging the bats real well right now, our pitching staff is pitching great and we’re just on a roll right now.”
Emeralds left fielder Mychal Stokes reached base three times in five plate appearances, and hit a two-run double in the fifth inning.
The Emeralds are 4-0 against the Volcanoes this season, and the teams play game two of their three-game series at 7 p.m. Wednesday at PK Park.