The Eugene Emeralds (14-14, 30-36) dropped Thursday's series finale against the Hillsboro Hops (18-10, 42-24) in ten innings by a final score of 3-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at PK Park.
After the Hops took early leads in each of the prior two nights, the Ems returned the favor on Thursday evening by striking first in the second inning. It all started when newcomer Ryan Reynolds slapped a one-out double the other way, finding the perfect spot between the converging Hops second baseman, first baseman and right fielder to drop in for a double. A wild pitch during the ensuing at-bat advanced Reynolds to third, and Luis Vazquez delivered an RBI groundout moments later to score Reynolds and put the Ems in front, 1-0.
Eugene's one-run lead held until the fifth inning when Hillsboro leveled the score despite failing to collect a single hit in the frame. Three-straight one-out walks loaded the bases for the Hops, and Daniel Wasinger came through with a sacrifice fly to left to tie the score at 1-1.
The Ems found themselves back in front just two innings later. Edmond Americaan led off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the right field line, his fourteenth of the season, and after a passed ball allowed Americaan to advance to third, Alexander Guerra brought him home with a frozen rope single to left field, putting the Ems back in the driver's seat, 2-1.
Once again, though, the Hops would respond. Jesus Marriaga led off the top of the ninth by reaching second base thanks to a Josue Huma throwing error on a routine grounder to third, and after a Liover Peguero fly out advanced Marriaga to third, Andy Yerzy brought him home with a line drive single to right, sending the game to extra innings with the game tied, 2-2.
In the tenth inning, the Hops cashed in to take their first lead of the game. With Kevin Lachance starting the fame on second base per MiLB extra inning rules, a Jonathan Soto passed ball allowed him to advance ninety feet, and Jorge Barrosa immediately brought him home with a single, putting Hillsboro ahead, 3-2.
Eugene was unable to score in the bottom half of the tenth, gifting the Hops a 3-2 victory in the finale of the three-game series.
Emeralds starting pitcher Josh Burgmann was exceptional for his second straight three-inning outing, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out three Hops batters. Italian import Matteo Bocchi also shined in long relief duty during the game's late innings, firing 2.2 scoreless, hitless innings with three strikeouts.
With the loss, the Emeralds drop four games behind the first place Hillsboro Hops with just ten games remaining in the regular season.
The Ems now hit the road and head north to face the Everett AquaSox for a four-game series starting Friday evening at 7:05pm PST at Funko Field.
The Emeralds return home to start the regular season's final series - a four-game set against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes - on Wednesday, August 28. The regular season's final homestand features a number of fun and unique promotions, including Grease Monkey Night, A Nightmare on EMS Street, Family Fun Night featuring BirdZerk!, and Marvel Super Hero Night.
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.