A sold out crowd saw the Eugene Emeralds (15-21, 31-43) drop their second straight heartbreaker in extra innings on Saturday night, falling to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (20-16, 46-28) by a final score of 4-3 in 10 innings at PK Park.
After falling, 4-3, in 11 innings the night prior, the Ems took the field on Saturday aiming to avoid a sweep at the hands of the rival Volcanoes with Cubs 2019 3rd rounder Michael McAvene taking the mound. On the other side, Salem-Keizer countered with Giants 2019 8th rounder Caleb Kilian who was making his first start at the Single-A level after starting his pro career in the Rookie-level Arizona League earlier this season.
The two righthanders lived up to the billing, each firing four scoreless innings while allowing only three total baserunners between the two of them.
From there, both bullpens hunkered down as neither offense was heard from until the seventh inning when the visitors finally broke the scoreless deadlock. After the Volcanoes led off the inning with a bloop single and a walk, a Jonathan Soto passed ball allowed both runners to advance 90 feet into scoring position, and Volcanoes catcher Brandon Martorano delivered the base knock that Salem-Keizer was looking for, singling to left field to score both runners and put the Volcanoes ahead, 2-0.
From there, it appeared the Volcanoes would shut the door the rest of the way as the Emeralds seemed stymied by righthander Connor Nurse, who had entered in place of Kilian to start the fifth inning. However, the Ems offense woke up just in the nick of time.
Yovanny Cuevas brought the PK Park crowd back to life with a double to deep center field to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, and two batters later, Alexander Guerra sent the crowd into a frenzy, smashing the first pitch he saw deep into the night sky for a two-run home run, tying the game at 2-2 to eventually force extra innings.
For the second straight night, though, the Volcanoes would emerge from extras with a win. With a runner starting on second base per MiLB extra innings rules, Kwan Adkins led off the tenth by belting the first pitch he saw off the top of the right field fence to score Abdiel Layer and put the Volcanoes back in front. One batter later, after a Jake Reindl wild pitch allowed Adkins to advance to third, Alex Canario skied a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Adkins and give the Volcanoes a two-run cushion heading to the bottom of the tenth.
That two-run advantage proved pivotal as the Ems offense wasn't quite done going to work. Ryan Reynolds injected life back into the Ems with a double to right field that scored Jacob Olson, who had started the inning on second base, but Reynolds' RBI extra base hit was all that the Ems could counter with in the home half off the inning as the Volcanoes held on for a 4-3 win.
The Ems now hit the road for the final two games of the season, both against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 5:05pm PST with lefthander Didier Vargas set to start for the Ems.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.