Solid Pitching, Explosive Offense Give Ems Victory

By Cameron LaFerle / Eugene Emeralds | August 3, 2018 1:15 AM

A Spokane Indian outfielder turned around toward the wall after the sixth pitch of the inning, trying to rob a home run. But the ball kept carrying, going over the wall and starting an offensive explosion as the Eugene Emeralds took home an 8-3 victory in front of 4,145 at PK Park.

 

It started in the first when new comer and fifth round pick Andy Weber singled in the first inning, setting up Grant Fennell. Fennell did not disappoint and, for the second time in as many days for the Ems, drove a 0-1 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run shot, his second of the year.

 

That was just the start of the offensive explosion, as the Ems (4-6, 18-30) scored five more times over the next two innings. Gustavo Polanco singled to lead off the second, followed by a triple by Jake Slaughter. He would come around to score two batters later when Levi Jordan singled to make it a 4-0 game.

 

Ems starter Jeffrey Passantino (5-0) worked in and out of trouble all night, getting caught in the third when the Indians made a comeback. After Scott Kapers struck out to lead off the inning, Tyler Depreta-Johnson started a sequence of four straight base hits with a double.

 

Three singles scored a pair of runs, making it a 4-2 game and summoned a visit from the pitching coach to settle Passantino down. And did he settle, striking out the next batter he faced before a fielder's choice ended the game.

 

Eugene answered right back in the bottom of the inning starting when Luke Reynolds doubled with one out. Nelson Velazquez came back with a double of his own to score Reynolds, making it a 5-2 game. Jonathan Sierra then singled to right, scoring Velazquez.

 

Polanco struck out before Jake Slaughter singled through the left side of the field. Fernando Kelli then capped the scoring, singling up the middle to score Sierra to make it a 7-3 game.

 

Passantino gave up another run in the fourth, a homer to Austin O'Banion, and got into more trouble after hitting a batter and another reaching on an error. A mound visit settled Passantino again and he got J.P. Martinez to ground out on a close play.

 

Indians manager Kenny Holmberg did not agree with the call and was ejected. Passantino got out of the inning on a line out and cruised through the next two, finishing with a career high six innings of work. He gave up six hits, three runs, but no walks and eight strikeouts.

 

The Ems got one more run in the sixth after Reynolds doubled and scored Weber with two outs to make it 8-3.

 

Stephen Ridings came in for Passantino and pitched an almost perfect seventh and eighth, only hitting one batter in the eighth, but got a pair of strikeouts on the night. Ethan Roberts pitched a perfect ninth inning.

 

Game 3 will take place tomorrow with Brailyn Marquez taking the bump for the Ems and the Indians countering with Scott Engler. The Ems will wear specialty jerseys and auction them off during the game. Tickets can be purchased at emeraldsbaseball.com.

 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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