Pitching wins games, and over the last five, Los Monarcas De Eugene pitching has been on fire to the tune of a 2.05 ERA. It was no different on Tuesday, as Eugene held the hot hitting Salem-Keizer Volcanoes to just a pair of runs and out-hit them in regulation. But one hit was all the Volcanoes needed to take a two run lead it would not surrender, dropping the Monarcas 4-3 in the tenth in front of 2,100 at PK Park.
After Sean Barry (2-1) walked the first Volcanoe (1-0, 21-18) batter in the tenth with a runner on second to start the inning, a sacrifice bunt moved them to second and third. Barry intentionally walked Joey Bart to bring up David Villar.
Villar wasted no time, shooting a double over center fielder Fernando Kelli's head to score a pair and make it a 4-2 game.
Los Monarcas (0-1, 14-25) tried to rally in the tenth, moving starting runner on second Nelson Velazquez over to thrid on a fly out, and scoring him when Grant Fennell grounded out to make it 4-3. But, they could do no more as Jonathan Sierra grounded out to end the game.
Eugene also had a chance to win it in the ninth when Kelli walked to lead off the ninth and moved to second on a Tyler Durna single with one out. Velazquez could not get the job done as he grounded into a double play and ended the inning.
Riley Thompson struggled in his first two outings of the year but was solid on Tuesday, going three strong innings while giving up just a pair of hits to go with two strikeouts. Faustino Carrera entered in the fourth and almost matched Thompson.
Carrera finished four innings, giving up three hits with three strikeouts and a run on a mistake when Kyle McPherson hit his fourth homer to make it a 1-0 game in the sixth inning.
Los Monarcas responded immediately in the bottom of the inning when Durna walked to lead-off the inning. After a strikeout, a wild pitch moved Durna to second for Luke Reynolds, who smacked a ball to center for a double, scoring Durna and tying the game.
Grant Fennell then kept the line moving, singling home Reynolds to give Los Monarcas the lead.
It stayed that way until the eighth when Ethan Roberts came in for Carrera. Roberts gave up a lead-off double to Nico Giarratano and moved to third on a wild pitch. A Jose Layer single scored Giarrantano and tied the game at 2-2.
Cam Sanders was the fourth of five pitchers used by the Ems, pitching in the ninth and keeping the Volcanoes off the board. He gave up two walks and a strikeout, but no hits.
Game two of the three game series starts Wednesday at 7:05 for Christmas In July. The Ems will don Ugly Christmas Sweater jerseys that will be auctioned off during the game. For tickets, visit our box office, opening at 12, or emeraldsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.