Eugene received strong pitching performances from starter Bryan Verbitsky and reliever Michael Kelly but it was not enough Thursday night. Verbitsky will not pitch more than three innings in any start the rest of the way to limit his pitch counts. He allowed just a hit and a walk while punching out four before exiting a scoreless game. Michael Kelly relieved him with three perfect innings, retiring all nine Indians he faced including one strike out.
Spokane's starter, RHP John Niggli, through five shutout innings of his own in his NWL debut. He allowed four hits but used a pair of double play balls and three strike outs to never allow an Emerald past first base. Niggli faced 17 batters in total and induced 9 groundball outs.
Former Emerald starter Erik Cabrera made his second appearance out of the bullpen starting in the 7th. He made it through his first frame unscathed thanks to a fine throw by catcher Ryan Miller to nail Spokane CF Jordan Akins trying to steal second base. Miller has now caught 32 of 52 would be base stealers.
Coming back out for the 8th, Cabrera surrendered a leadoff double to Marcus Greene, the only extra-base hit of the game. The next batter, Ryan Cordell, showed bunt on the first pitch but took a ball up and in. On the next Cabrera offering, Cordell swung away and hit a high chopper over the head of the drawn in Emerald 3B Fernando Perez. Greene came in to score and the Indians had broken the scoreless tie. The next two batters singled plating another run before Cabrera retired the next three men to limit the damage.
The Ems got leadoff singles in the 8th and 9th but could not get multiple runners on base all night. Donavan Tate made his first appearance since returning to Eugene. As a pinch hitter in the 8th inning he grounded out with a runner on 2nd.
Friday night will be the last game for Padres 1st round selection Hunter Renfroe in an Ems uniform. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm and as always you can buy and print tickets online at EmeraldsBaseball.com or head to the PK Park box office opening at 10am. If you can't make it to the yard, keep it tuned to 95.3fm the Score for all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Matt Dompe.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.