After showing signs of emerging from their season-long slump during the five-game home stand against the Everett AquaSox, the Eugene Emeralds got their road trip started on the wrong foot tonight in Salem-Keizer with a 8-4 loss at the hands of the Volcanoes.
It certainly started exactly how the Emeralds had hoped; as the club took San Diego Padres first-round pick Hunter Renfroe on the road for the first time this season, and the former Mississippi Sate Bulldog did not disappoint. With two outs in the top of the first, Renfroe crushed a 2-1 offering from Volcanoes starting pitcher Chris Johnson up and out of the stadium, as left fielder Shilo McCall could only watch helplessly as the ball sailed well over the left field fence giving the Ems an early 1-0 lead on Renfroe's second professional home run.
However, it was quickly downhill from there for the Emeralds as the Volcanoes erupted for 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. After leadoff hitter Tyler Hollick grounded out for the first out of the bottom of the first inning, Cabrera loaded the bases on a Brandon Bednar single followed by two consecutive walks, bringing third baseman Ryan Tuntland to the place. Tuntland promptly fouled off pitch after pitch before ultimately finding the Cabrera offering he was looking for, sending the 7th pitch of the at-bat into the right-centerfield gap therefore clearing the bases and giving the Volcanoes a 3-1 lead as Tuntland was into third base safely for his first extra base hit of the season.
Left fielder Shilo McCall would promptly follow with a single to score Tuntland from third, and after inducing a groundout to catcher Ty Ross and walking John Polonius, Cabrera was pulled by Manager Jim Gabella ending a nightmare outing on the mound. When the dust settled and the Ems got out of the inning, Cabrera only recorded two outs while allowing four runs (all earned) on three hits and three walks. Kyle Lloyd came out of the pen and was stellar in relief duty, getting the Ems out of the first inning jam before throwing a scoreless 4.1 innings.
The Ems would try to get back in the game in the sixth inning, but the Volcanoes would respond to each and every threat the Ems would pose. The Ems tacked on one run in the 6th before the Volcanoes would do the same as well, followed by Eugene scoring again in the 8th before Salem-Keizer responded with two more in the bottom of the frame. After the Ems cut the score to 8-4 in the 9th and loaded the bases with one out, Michael Bass grounded into the game-ending double play thus ending a frustrating night for the Ems in the series opener in Salem-Keizer.
Volcanoes starting pitcher Chris Johnson picked up the win, his third of the season, allowing two earned runs and four hits over six innings while striking out 5 Emeralds batters. After EJ Encinosa struggled to close it out in the ninth inning, closer Raymundo Montero came in to pick up his fifth save of the season.
The win was the fourth in as many games over the Emeralds this season by the Volcanoes, as Salem-Keizer moves their record to 20-11 while remaining atop the South division of the Northwest League. Meanwhile, the Ems fall to 11-20 and look to pick up their first win over the Volcanoes this season as the two prepare for a rematch tomorrow at 6:35pm. Catch all the action between the Ems and Volcanoes starting at 6:20 on 95.3FM The Score, www.EmeraldsBaseball.com, or on the Eugene Emeralds smart phone app.