Saturday night saw the Ems show that they are, perhaps, human. After winning the first four games of the season, the Eugene Emeralds (4-1) finally put a mark in the ‘loss’ column as they fell to the Spokane Indians (1-4) by a final score of 10-6 at Avista Stadium in
Saturday night saw the Ems show that they are, perhaps, human. After winning the first four games of the season, the Eugene Emeralds (4-1) finally put a mark in the ‘loss’ column as they fell to the Spokane Indians (1-4) by a final score of 10-6 at Avista Stadium in Spokane, Washington.
With the loss, the Emeralds hopes of a 120-0 season are dashed as the team must now set its sights on posting a mere 119-1 record.
HOW IT HAPPENED: For the first time since Tuesday’s season opener, the first inning saw both offenses held at bay as both starting pitchers – RHP Conner Nurse for Eugene and RHP Karl Kauffmann for Spokane – held the opposing lineups scoreless through three innings.
In the fourth, the Indians struck first thanks to a two-run blast from part-time Paul Bunyan impersonator, Michael Toglia. The switch-hitting first baseman tattooed his fourth homer of the season to open the scoring, a mighty slam that ricocheted off the top of the right field wall to give the home side a 2-0 advantage. Toglia’s towering blast was his fourth homer in five games, and his four homers are two more than the next closest High-A West player(s).
One inning later, Spokane blew the game open behind a six-run outburst that saw the Indians bat around, capped off by a no-doubt, three-run bomb from Cade Harris to put the Ems down by a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
Meanwhile, Kauffmann impressed mightily in his first-ever professional outing after being drafted way back in 2019 with the 77th overall pick by the Colorado Rockies. Two years removed from helping guide the Michigan Wolverines to a runner-up finish at the College World Series, Kauffman fired five scoreless, hitless innings against the Ems while striking out three batters and allowing just two walks.
When the ball was turned over to the Spokane bullpen, though, it became a different game.
The potent Emeralds offense – which had scored at least eight runs in each of the team’s first four games – got to work plating a run in the sixth thanks to a Javeyan Williams sac fly, and they added another one inning later when Tyler Fitzgerald was awarded home after a balk from Indians reliever Boby Johnson.
Spokane reinstated their eight-run advantage in the home half of the inning thanks to a Kyle Datres RBI double and an AJ Lewis groundout that scored a run, but the Emeralds offense remained unfazed.
In the eighth, a wild pitch by Luke Chevalier allowed Carter Aldrete to score and make it 10-3, and Patrick Bailey later followed with an RBI line drive single that barreled into the backside of Chevalier, caroming off the Indians pitcher and allowing Jacob Gonzalez to score from third. Three batters later, a Logan Wyatt groundout allowed Javeyan Williams to score, and after eight innings the Emeralds deficit had been trimmed to five.
In the ninth, Franklin Labour led off the inning with a solo homer on the very first pitch from Shelby Lackey, a monster four-bagger that reportedly came back down to Earth somewhere in the Indian Ocean (unconfirmed).
However, Labour’s blast was the last run the Emeralds could muster as the Ems suffered defeat for the first time this season, falling by a final of 10-6.
Carter Aldrete – 2B: One night removed from a 0-for-5 night at the plate, Aldrete bounced back admirably with a 2-for-4 performance, going the opposite way with each of his hits, both well-struck singles.
Jacob Gonzalez – 3B: The Arizonan looked impressive in all four of his at-bats, ultimately going 2-for-4 but showcasing solid power even in the at-bats that didn’t yield a hit.
Patrick Bailey – C: It was a relatively quiet night at the plate by Bailey’s lofty standards (1-for-4, RBI) but Bailey showcased his powerful arm on two occasions, first gunning down an attempted base-stealer at first and later picking off a baserunner with a snap throw down to first.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Ems and Indians face off in the sixth and final game of the season’s first series on Sunday evening at Avista Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 5:09pm PST. RHP Caleb Kilian, who dazzled in his first start on Opening Night (4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 9 K) will get the start on the mound for the Emeralds.
You can listen live to all the action on 95.3FM The Score, via MiLB.com or on the MiLB app.
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