Needing three runs in the final three runs of the game to tie the game? No problem. Needing four in four innings to win it? Why not? A blistering walk-off 4-3 victory gave the Eugene Emeralds the series over the Spokane Indians in front of 3,500 at PK Park.
Needing a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie, the Ems (6-7, 20-31) against Spokane (7-6, 23-28) reliever Austin Pettibone got a single with one out from Luis Diaz. After stealing second, Luis Vazquez grounded a ball to the third baseman. Diaz took off on contact and was thrown out at third, but Vazquez made his way to second base safely on the throw to third.
Levi Jordan, who came into the game for Fernando Kelli in the eighth, grounded what looked like a game-ending ball to the second baseman Tyler Depreta-Johnson. But Depreta-Johnson threw the ball to first slightly high, allowing Jordan to reach safely.
Meanwhile Vazquez never stopped running, reaching home plate well ahead of a throw, scoring to tie the game at 3-3.
The Ems tried to end it in the ninth, but a slick play saw shortstop Jax Biggers throw home to get Jordan, ending the inning. Eugene ended it in the tenth they loaded the bases with Grant Fennell starting the inning on second, a walk to Luke Reynolds, and a sac bunt by Nelson Velazquez that he reached safely on.
With Jonathan Sierra, who already had one RBI, at the plate, new Indians pitcher Kyle Keith threw a 2-1 pitch in the dirt, scoring Fennell and setting off a celebration in Eugene.
Eugene was down early in the game, after starter Faustino Carrera ran into trouble in the fourth. After working around batters in the first three innings, Carrera got bit when Starling Joseph doubled to lead off the inning.
A single from Tanner Gardner scored Joseph to make it a 1-0 game. Carrera walked the next batter before a double steal put runners on second and third with no one out. A soft ground out by Hasuan Viera froze the runners on their bases. Isaias Quiroz singled and scored Gardner before Carrera got Troy Dixon to strikeout and J.P. Martinez to fly out.
Carrera lasted just .2 innings longer, going 4.2 and giving up four hits and two runs, three walks, and seven strikeouts.
The Indians added another run in the sixth off of Ems reliever Stephen Ridings when Viera walked and scored when Troy Dixon singled two batters later to make it 3-0.
Eugene started the comeback in the seventh when Sierra walked to lead off the inning. A ground out by Gustavo Polanco moved Sierra to second before Vazquez singled two batters later. Sierra scored and Eugene was on the board.
Andy Weber doubled to lead off the eighth before a pair of Ems struck out. Nelson Velazquez walked, his second of the game, before Sierra singled to left to score Weber and make it a one run game.
Eugenio Palma got his fourth win of the year in relief, pitching the final two innings and giving up just one hit, one walk, and a pair of strikeouts.
The Emeralds have an eight day break before coming back home and hosting the Hillsboro Hops for a three game series, starting on August 14th for the final Los Monarcas De Eugene game of the year. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office or online at emeraldsbaseball.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.