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Eugene Emeralds continue winning streak against Salem-Keizer Volcanoes

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.


Room For Improvement: Ems Opening Home Stand


Room For Improvement: Ems Conclude Opening Home Stand With A 4-3 Defeat Against Boise.
by Sam Finley, EDN

Another game getting underway at PK.

The Eugene Emeralds’ ended their opening home stand on Tuesday With A 4-3 loss against the Boise Hawks.  In many respects, the game was a microcosm of the entire series. Specifically, the Ems got offensive production as they had in the previous games, but also some very shaky pitching.  Ems’ manager Pat Murphy said that was a reason why his club couldn’t deliver one more win for 3,010 fans at PK Park.

“The starting pitching hasn’t gotten very deep in games,” he explained.  “So that hurts us.  You can’t give up 11 runs and blame the offense.  Anytime you’re pulling your starting pitching early, it is going to deplete your bullpen a bit.”

That was certainly the case last night, when Boise jumped on Eugene’s pitching early and often, beginning in the first inning against starting right hander Leonel Campos.  It was then that the Hawks’ first baseman Paul Hoilman smacked a two run homer over the left field fence for an early 2-0 lead.

Campos only lasted another inning after giving up another two runs, and the Ems’ bullpen didn’t do much better.  Will Scott, Chris Haney, and Matthew Stites surrendered a combined seven runs against Boise’s batting order.

But the pitching staff can’t take all of the blame for the defeat.  The Ems’ offense, while profilic enough in this series, was very inconsistent last night.  True, they did manage to score their share of runs, and even erased a four run deficit at one point.  For example, in the bottom of the sixth, Jorge Minety singled in Mykal Stokes to even the score at 6-6.

However, the Emeralds also left 10 men on base during the evening, and Boise eventually capitalized on the trend by scoring three in the seventh inning and two in the eighth to secure the victory. It is why the Ems’ skipper says the hitting needs to be a little more timely.

“There are aspects of the offense that are not clicking yet,” said Murphy. “We’ve been pretty good at getting the inside game going with bunts and steals, but we need to hit more balls in the gap. We also have to be better at driving the ball, and we haven’t done that yet. Hopefully, the other stuff will come through. But we left a small village on base tonight and that can’t happen.”

At the same time, Murphy was quick to point out that this is a young group that won’t always play perfect baseball.

“Usually, six runs are going to be enough to win a game,” he claimed. “But not always.  These are young kids who have only been in town a few days and they’re trying to get their feet wet.”

Fans enjoying some drinks at Levi's Landing inside PK Park

Despite the setback, the San Diego Padres’ Northwest League affiliate is off to a respectable start.  The Emeralds rallied to win the opening game on Friday 5-4, before losing 10-2 on Saturday.  Eugene then blasted Boise 8-1 on Sunday, as well as 9-4 on Monday. Still, Murphy believes the 3-2 record isn’t as important as how the team is performing overall.

“I don’t think we’ve played very well,” he explained. “I don’t think we’ve played complete games.  A lot of that has to do with having to use five pitchers every night, so it’s hard to get into rhythm with anything.  But overall, I think we have a chance to be real good defensively, and I think our pitching will improve.  I don’t think about our record, but about how we are playing.”

There will be plenty of chances to get better, starting tonight on the road against Salem-Keizer.  The Ems will play three games against the Volcanoes.  They’ll follow that series with a trip even further north up 1-5, when they visit the Everett Aquasox for a three game set.  Their next appearance at PK Park will be this coming Tuesday, when Salem-Keizer comes to Eugene.


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