The Eugene Emeralds (10-13) wrapped up the three-game series against the Everett AquaSox (11-12) in style, earning a 13-7 win on Saturday night at PK Park.
Despite the lopsided outcome in favor of the Emeralds, the start of the game seemed as if it would be the same story as the prior two nights.
Everett struck first in the top of the first, the third consecutive game that the AquaSox plated a run in the game's opening frame. With Austin Shenton on third and Trent Tingelstad on first after hitting a double and single, respectively, Robert Perez doubled on the first pitch he saw from Emeralds starter Chris Allen, easily scoring Shenton to give the visitors an early 1-0 advantage.
In the second, Everett doubled their advantage with one swing of the bat. Miguel Perez launched what at first appeared to be a relatively harmless fly ball to left-center field, but a strong wind blowing out to center field and a long hang time combined to be just enough for Perez's blast to sneak just over the PK Park fence, making it a 2-0 game.
Eugene responded in the bottom half of the frame thanks to a Fernando Kelli RBI single on the first pitch he saw from AquaSox pitcher Luis Curvelo, who had entered the ballgame to start the inning after AquaSox starter Damon Casetta-Stubbs was only permitted to pitch one inning. Kelli's single scored recent addition Zac Taylor to cut Eugene's deficit back to one.
Later in the same inning, after stealing second base and third base in back-to-back Emeralds at-bats, Kelli was pulled from the game due to an undisclosed injury after sliding into third base. Jacob Olson replaced Kelli in the lineup and moved to right field while Edmond Americaan moved from right field to center field.
The Emeralds' deficit ballooned back up to two in the top of the third inning. After Allen retired the first two AquaSox batters in quick succession, an infield single and a fielding error by Ems shortstop Luis Vazquez put runners on first and second. Cade Marlowe then stepped to the plate and promptly doubled on the first pitch he saw, lacing the ball to right field allowing Nevarez to score from second.
Again, the Ems responded in the bottom half of the frame, and they did it with a two-out rally of their own. Zac Taylor continued the strong start to his Emeralds career by doubling down the left field line, and Clemson alum Grayson Byrd delivered in the following at bat by driving home Taylor with an RBI single, cutting the AquaSox lead back to just one.
In the fourth inning, the Emeralds took their first lead of the game and would not look back. Eugene exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth, starting with an Edmond Americaan three-run blast to right field, a no-doubter that easily cleared the PK Park fence to put the Emeralds in front, 5-3. An ensuing AquaSox pitching change saw Brock Minich take the mound for Everett, and he was quickly greeted by Grayson Byrd who doubled off the center field wall to score Jake Slaughter and Zac Taylor, extending the Emeralds' lead to 7-3.
The seventh inning saw the AquaSox opt to lean on position players to do the pitching duties despite trailing by only four runs, and the Emeralds took full advantage. Darius Hill netted his first RBI as an Emerald in the seventh inning thanks to a sacrifice fly to center field, and the Emeralds followed an inning later by plating five runs in total. A bases loaded walk to Grayson Byrd, a Jacob Olson 2-RBI single, another Darius Hill sac fly, and an Edmond Americaan RBI single stretched Eugene's lead all the way up to 13-3 heading into the ninth.
The offensive explosion came with some emotional fireworks from the AquaSox, too. With outfielder Cash Gladfelter on the mound to relieve infielder Luis Joseph and a runner on third with two outs, Luis Vazquez was plunked by a pitch from Gladfelter, who was immediately ejected from the game along with manager Jose Moreno. Gladfelter's ejection resulted in catcher Carter Bins coming on to do the pitching duties, the third position player to pitch for Everett on the evening.
The AquaSox made things interesting as best they could in the ninth, plating four runs in total, but the deficit proved far too much to come back from as the Emeralds wrapped up the series with a 13-7 win in front of 2,659 fans at PK Park.
Starting pitcher Chris Allen (1-0) picked up his first-ever professional win on the evening, tossing 5.0 innings with 3 strikeouts while allowing 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and no walks. In addition to belting his first career home run, Edmond Americaan finished the night 3-for-5 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. Newcomer Grayson Byrd, playing in only his second game as an Emerald, went 2-for-3 at the plate with 4 RBI, 2 walks and a run scored. Not to be outdone, fellow recent addition Zac Taylor went 3-for-3 with 2 walks and 5 runs scored.
The Emeralds now look ahead to tomorrow where they'll open up a two-game series against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The Ems and Volcanoes face off at 5:05pm PST on Sunday evening at PK Park.
Sunday marks STEAM Night at PK Park as the Emeralds celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics with numerous interactive displays and activities hosted throughout the ballpark by local education-based organizations.
Sunday also brings the season's second Monarcas Sunday, presented by Carl's Jr., Kendall Toyota, Mountain Dew and Sol Cerveza. Every Monarcas Sunday sees the Emeralds transform into Los Monarcas de Eugene as part of MiLB's Copa de la Diversion. There will be Latin food, music and entertainment at the ballpark plus $1 hot dogs and kids will get a chance to run the bases after the game. This Monarcas Sunday also features an El Chapulin Colorado t-shirt giveaway, presented by Carl's Jr, Kendall Toyota, Mountain Dew, Sol Cerveza, and La Que Buena. The first 1,000 fans that enter through the home plate gates of PK Park on Sunday, July 7 will receive their own El Chapulin Colorado t-shirt.
You can find the full promotional schedule for the 2019 Eugene Emeralds season by visiting www.EmeraldsBaseball.com.
Tickets to Emeralds home games are on sale now at www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or by calling (541) 342-5367.
Stay up to date with the Emeralds by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.