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Comeback Comes Up Few Feet Short

After being no-hit for six innings, the Emeralds offense awakens late only to see the final out made at home plate
(Gary Breedlove)
July 21, 2021

The Eugene Emeralds (38-28) saw their seven-game home win streak over their in-state rivals snapped on Tuesday night, falling to the Hillsboro Hops (29-36) by a final of 3-2 at PK Park. THE DETAILS:

  • Winning Pitcher: Blake Walston (1-1, 3.79 ERA): 8.0 IP | 2 H | 1 R

The Eugene Emeralds (38-28) saw their seven-game home win streak over their in-state rivals snapped on Tuesday night, falling to the Hillsboro Hops (29-36) by a final of 3-2 at PK Park.

THE DETAILS:

  • Winning Pitcher: Blake Walston (1-1, 3.79 ERA): 8.0 IP | 2 H | 1 R | 1 ER | 1 BB | 11 K
  • Losing Pitcher: Conner Nurse (1-6, 6.08 ERA): 5.0 IP | 6 H | 3 R | 3 ER | 1 BB | 4 K
  • Save: Yaramil Hiraldo (4)
  • HR(s): Eugene: Auerbach (4) | Hillsboro: Canzone (6)

HOW IT HAPPENED: Fresh off a marathon series finale against Spokane that spanned four hours and forty-two minutes on Sunday, Tuesday’s series opener against the Hops at PK Park lasted nearly half that time but wasn’t without ample entertainment.

The story through the first six innings was Hillsboro’s starting pitcher Blake Walston who carried a perfect game through five innings and a no-hitter into the sixth, stymieing an Emeralds offense that had put up a combined sixty runs during the six-game series in Spokane.

Meanwhile, Hillsboro’s offense was held in check until the fifth behind three consecutive one-out hits. Cam Coursey started it with a double to center field, and Jorge Barrosa followed by doing the exact same thing, doubling to center field to allow Coursey to easily score and put the visitors up first, 1-0. Dom Canzone followed in the ensuing at-bat and teed off to right, a big blast of the two-run variety that made it 3-0, Hillsboro, after five.

That margin – and Walston’s bid for a no-hitter – held until the first batter of the seventh. Eugene’s do-it-all utility man Brett Auerbach stepped up and launched a solo shot to left, dropping down to one knee and blasting his fourth home run in fourteen games as an Emerald and his second homer in the last three games.

It stayed 3-1 until the ninth when the Emeralds, thanks to some timely hitting and some good fortune, got the rally going. Down to their final strike, Armani Smith singled to center field to bring the tying run to the plate, and Sean Roby followed by doubling to left to put the tying run on second with the winning run in the form of Tyler Fitzgerald coming up.

Fitzgerald, who entered the evening on a five-game hit streak but was hitless to that point, singled sharply to left to score Smith while Roby got the green light coming around third. However, the throw from Hops left fielder Eduardo Diaz was on the money to nab Roby easily at home and wrap a dramatic ending at PK Park that saw the Hops hang on, 3-2.

PEAK PERFORMERS:

  • Brett Auerbach – 2B: Auerbach’s blast ignited an offense in sore need of a spark, teeing off – again, let us remind you, from one knee – to get the Ems on the board and break up the no-hitter bid by Blake Walston.
  • John Russell – RHP: Russ was once again solid out of the ‘pen, firing 3.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts while allowing just one hit and one walk.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Eugene Emeralds and Hillsboro Hops continue their six-game series at PK Park on Wednesday evening. First pitch on Wednesday between the Emeralds and Hops is slated for 7:05pm PST.

You can catch all the action with Matt Dompe on the call via MiLB.tv, 95.3FM The Score, MiLB.com or on the MiLB app.

Tickets to Emeralds home games are available at www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or by calling (541) 342-5367.

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