Eugene, OR - A lead-off homerun in the bottom of the first and an eight-run outburst supported a short pitching and gave the Eugene Emeralds their second win in a row in an 8-4 victory over the Tri-City Dust Devils as 3,355 watched at PK Park.
Jhonny Bethencourt got the scoring started for the Emeralds (13-11) by blasting a pitch over the left centerfield wall for his first homer of the year. Aramis Ademan almost went back-to-back with Bethencourt, but had to settle for a triple instead as the ball hit off the top of the wall.
Jared Young, playing in his first professional game, was poised to drive Ademan in, but Dust Devils (13-11) starter Darius Valdez (1-1, 5.06) threw a pitch in the dirt, allowing Ademan to score. Young then singled, but Valdez settled and got the next three Ems out.
The two runs made it just a 2-2 ball game after one, because the Dust Devils got to Yapson Gomez after the bases were loaded for Tre Carter, who smashed a single to left scoring a pair. The bases were reloaded but Gomez struck out Felipe Blanco and Aldemar Burgos to end the inning.
Gomez did much of the same in the second, striking out the side and keeping the Dust Devils off balance in the third to complete his night. In three innings of work, Gomez gave up two runs on four hits, just one walk and six strikeouts.
Eugene's offense went back to work in the second inning to support Gomez after an error allowed Jose Gonzalez to reach to first and another wild pitch moved him to second. Kwang-Min Kwon singled to score Gonzalez and give the Ems a 3-2 lead.
Bases were loaded for Young after Rafael Narea singled and Bethencourt walked and Young did not disappoint, ripping a single to right field and scoring Kwon and Narea. Bethencourt scored after yet another Valdez wild pitch and when the dust had settled the Emeralds led 6-2.
Dalton Erb replaced Valdez after he had two innings of work and gave up six runs, five earned. The Ems did not miss a beat as they jumped on Erb quickly, with Michael Cruz singling for his first hit with the Ems. A pair of strikeouts, two wild pitches and a Narea walked brought up Bethencourt in a big spot.
Bethencourt again delivered, smacking a triple to right field for two more runs, making it an 8-2 game.
Manuel Rodriguez would relieve Gomez and earn his first win of the season by throwing three perfect innings and striking out five. Jake Steffens made his pro debut in the seventh, walking just one batter while striking out a pair.
Tri-City would threaten in the eighth as Jhon Romero relieved Steffens. A lead-off walk to Justin Lopez and back-to-back singles but Luis Almanzar and Jalen Washington put Romero in a tough situation. A strikeout to Carter brought Luis Anguizola up and he promptly singled to center, scoring Lopez and Almanzar. Romero would hit the next batter before getting a pop fly and strikeout to end the frame.
Brian Glowicki dashed any hope for the Dust Devils in the ninth as he struck out a pair in his inning of work.
Game four of the five game set will be an afternoon affair at PK Park on Sunday. The Ems will be wearing throw-back green jerseys and it is Bike to the Ballpark day. Get your tickets online at emeraldsbaseball.com or calling the box office at 541-342-5367.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.