In just 2 hours and 5 minutes, the Steve Lerud era of Eugene Emeralds baseball was established with two main keys. Speed and pitching. The Ems shutout the Vancouver Canadians 2-0 in front of a sellout crowd at PK Park.
Fernando Kelli took care of the speed after a lead-off single in the first and a stolen base in the second. Kelli advanced to third on a fly ball by Nelson Velazquez. He then scored after Christopher Morel struck out on a ball in the dirt. Kelli moved toward the plate when catcher Owen Spiwak threw the ball to first. Kelli sprinted toward home and just beat the throw of Sterling to score the first run of the season for the Ems.
Faustino Carrera took care of the pitching with 6 solid innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five. He worked around runners on first and third with one out in the first inning, getting the runner on third in a steal attempt.
Carrera didn't allow multiple runners on base the rest of the night, shutting down the Canadians to just one hit and a walk the rest of the way.
The bullpen did their part to preserve the shutout, with Dalton Geekie, a signee from an independent team earlier in May, worked two innings, allowing a pair of hits and striking out one.
Last year's closer Luis Aquino closed out the fast paced game, needing just 10 pitches, and seven strikes, to end it.
The Ems got their second run in the second inning, after Luis Diaz singled with two outs. He advanced to second on a balk before scoring on singled to left field by Jonathan Soto.
Eugene tallied seven total hits and committed just one error, a grounder not fielded by Carrera on the first batter of the game. It was a stark difference from last season's home opener, when the Ems committed three errors and fell to the Canadians.
The next game is Saturday, June 16th at 7:05 pm. The Ems will send righty Jeffrey Passantino to mound, while Vancouver will counter with Jose Espada.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.