An early morning trip to the Treasure Valley could not tire out the Emeralds' offense, as Eugene pounded their way to a 9-3 victory over the Boise Hawks in front of 3,581 at Memorial Stadium.
From the get-go, the Ems' offensive attack blitzed Boise starter Jeffri Ocando. Fernando Kelli led off the 1st inning by lacing a triple down the left field line, coming home to score the game's first run on Pedro Martinez's subsequent single up the middle. Chase Strumpf followed with a bouncing shot that ricocheted off the glove of third baseman Vladimir Dilone, putting runners at the corners. After a strikeout issued to Grayson Byrd, Caleb Knight roped a double to the left-center gap, plating Martinez and Strumpf. Knight would later score on an RBI single from Edmond Americaan to give the Emeralds a commanding 4-0 lead.
Ryan Jensen started the game on the mound for the Ems, working in and out of trouble in the early innings as he struggled to find his groove. However, despite some jams, Jensen finished with 2.1 innings of work, his longest outing of the season, surrendering just one earned run. He also threw for 3 strikeouts and issued 3 walks along the way, battling with bouts of inconsistency.
Fernando Kelli would buoy Jensen's efforts in the 2nd, blasting his 2nd home run of the season deep to left-center off of Ocando. The shot just to the right of the Memorial Stadium videoboard gave the Ems a 5-0 lead.
Boise would get that run back in the bottom half of the frame, as Bladimir Restituyo beat out a would-be inning-ending double play at 1st, allowing Daniel Cope to score from 3rd in a bases loaded situation. That lone run would be the only offensive output for the Hawks until the 7th inning, as Boise went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on the evening.
In the 3rd inning, the boys from the Emerald Valley seemingly put the game out of reach. After Chase Strumpf and Grayson Byrd led off the frame with back-to-back singles, Caleb Knight attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt down the 3rdbase line. However, as Ocando fled off the mound and fielded the roller, his throw sailed past second baseman Jesus Azuaje and into right field, plating Strumpf. Alexander Guerra would bring home Byrd with a sacrifice fly to center, with Knight scoring from third later in the inning on a wild pitch. When the dust had settled, the Ems were up 8-1.
Both bullpens would settle into the game through the late innings, so the lone runs the rest of the way came on solo home runs from Edmond Americaan and Michael Toglia. Americaan skied a moonshot over the left field wall to put the Ems ahead 9-1 in the 7th, before Michael Toglia ripped a pair of solo shots deep into the night sky in right field, his 8th and 9th home runs on the season.
Bryan King threw 1.2 innings of scoreless relief following Jensen for the Ems. Brandon Hughes needed just 13 pitches to work through his 2 innings of relief work. Chris Kachmar, despite surrendering the home run in the 7th to Toglia, fired 2 innings while striking out 6. Riley McCauley pitched the 9th to close out the ballgame.
On Friday, the Ems will return to Memorial Stadium for Game 2 against Boise. Eduarniel Nunez will get the nod on the mound, looking to build off of his impressive start last time against the Hawks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:15pm PST on 95.3 The Score.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.