EVERETT, Wash.- Sunday night the Everett AquaSox and Eugene Emeralds played Game One of the Northwest League Championship Series. After sweeping Spokane to win the Northern Division Title, Everett sent left-hander Danny Garcia (6-2) to the hill. Eugene defeated Hillsboro on Friday night in Game Three of the Southern Division Series, earning a South Division Title. The Emeralds countered with the Cubs number four prospect, right-hander Dylan Cease (2-0).
Much like previous meetings between these two teams, Game One was a low scoring pitchers' duel. Both starters delivered quality starts, but Eugene was able to swat three solo home runs to earn a 3-1 win over the AquaSox. The series will move to Eugene for games two and three (if necessary) on Monday and Tuesday night.
Eugene's Dylan Cease was dominant, throwing four shutout innings while striking out six batters. Michael Rucker followed with three no-hit innings, striking out one. Andin Diaz entered the game in the eighth and struggled, leaving the game after loading the bases and not recording an out. Dakota Mekkes escaped the jam, only allowing one run to score.
Danny Garcia pitched better than his stat line read, 6 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 7K. The only runs Garcia allowed were on solo home runs. Robert Dugger entered the game in relief of Garcia in the 7th. Dugger tossed three scoreless innings, keeping the AquaSox within striking distance of the Emeralds.
Yeiler Peguero put the Emeralds on the board in the top of the first. The second baseman hit a solo home run off Danny Garcia, making it 1-0 Eugene.
DJ Wilson and Chris Pieters added to Eugene's lead in the top of the sixth, hitting a pair of solo home runs to make it 3-0 Emeralds.
The AquaSox offense came to life in the bottom of the eighth. Donnie Walton reached base on a single and Bryson Brigman followed by hitting a double. Eric Filia walked, then Zammarelli struck out with the bases loaded. Kristian Brito plated Walton on a fielder's choice after an umpire overruling, bringing the score to 3-1 Eugene entering the ninth.
Dakota Mekkes escaped the bases loaded jam he inherited in the bottom of the eighth, then shut down the AquaSox in the ninth to earn a six-out save in a 3-1 win for the Emeralds.
Eric Filia finished 1-2, with a double and two walks.
WP: Rucker (1-0)
LP: Garcia (0-1)
SV: Mekkes (1)