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Drama Dominates Ninth Inning As Ems Tally Tenth Win

A wild ninth inning starts with the Emeralds taking the lead and ends with Marte striking out the side amidst… let’s call it ‘unique’ circumstances
May 22, 2021

Well, that was… something. A wild, weird, and at times unintelligible ninth inning saw the Eugene Emeralds (10-6) complete a comeback and hold on late in a 3-2 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils (5-11) at Gesa Stadium. HOW IT HAPPENED: Looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak of

Well, that was… something. A wild, weird, and at times unintelligible ninth inning saw the Eugene Emeralds (10-6) complete a comeback and hold on late in a 3-2 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils (5-11) at Gesa Stadium.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Emeralds jumped out to the game’s first lead when Jacob Gonzalez, making his first appearance of the series, delivered in his very first at-bat by slicing an RBI single to right field that scored Diego Rincones to put the visitors up early, 1-0.

The Emeralds’ lead only lasted until the third, though, when Livian Soto lifted a solo homer over the right field fence to tie the game at 1-1. Three batters later, Carlos Herrera was brought home to score on a sac fly after having previously tripled behind Soto’s solo bomb, giving the home side a 2-1 lead after three innings.

It remained 2-1 in favor of TC until the seventh when Brandon Martorano – who had his fingerprints all over this game – led off the inning with a single, eventually advancing to third, and then came in to score on a groundout by Simon Whiteman to tie the game up at 2-2.

After a scoreless eighth, we reached the ninth which was, well, interesting. And weird.

The inning started with Martorano once again leading off the inning, and once again he came through, this time in a big, big way with a stand-up triple to right-center field that elicited a roar from the Emeralds’ third base dugout as Martorano represented the go-ahead run with no outs on the board in the ninth.

Out went TC reliever Luis Alvarado and in came Zac Kristofak, but the flame-throwing righty started his relief outing by issuing a four-pitch walk to Ismael Munguia and then skimming the top hand of Jacob Gonzalez to load the bases with no outs.

Kristofak found a way to find the strike zone in the ensuing two at-bats, striking out both Whiteman and then pinch hitter Logan Fitzgerald to all of the sudden flip the momentum and put the Dust Devils one out away from heading to the bottom of the ninth tied at 2-2.

Unfortunately for Kristofak, though, the top of the order loomed after Fitzgerald in the form of first rounder Patrick Bailey, setting up a potential storybook moment for the imposing NC State product.

Turns out, though, that the Emeralds took the lead before Bailey’s at-bat even ended as a wild pitch by Kristofak saw Martorano make one heck of a read and jump to race home from third and score standing up to give the Emeralds the 3-2 lead.

The wild pitch also allowed the runners at first (Gonzalez) and second (Munguia) to advance ninety feet, but after Bailey ultimately drew a walk on a pitch in the dirt that squirted away from the TC catcher, Munguia tried to repeat what Martorano had just done and race home, but he was ultimately caught in a run down and tagged out to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.

It might be hard to believe, but things got even wilder in the home half of the frame.

Jose Marte entered looking for his third save in as many chances, but quickly put a runner on first after plunking the first batter of the frame right out of the gate.

Things really escalated in the ensuing at-bat when, with an 0-1 count on the board, TC’s Jose Verrier attempted to bunt but was then hit by a pitch, or so it seemed.

After trotting down to first, Verrier was called back as it appeared that the game’s home plate umpire ruled (accurately) that Verrier offered at the pitch with his bunt attempt and made no attempt to avoid being hit by the pitch. That made it 0-2, and one pitch later Verrier struck out for the first out.

The drama was far from over, though.

In the following at-bat, a groundball to Will Wilson at short appeared to be a tailor-made 6-3 double play ball for the slick shortstop who was charging and had plenty of time, but the ball bounced up-and-off the lip of the infield grass, over the leaping attempt of Wilson, and into center field for a single that put runners on the corners.

Drevian Williams-Nelson followed in the order and quickly found himself ahead in the count, 3-0, needing just one ball from Marte to load the bases, but Marte battled back to dramatically strike him out, and then Marte added the exclamation point to a wild win when he struck out leadoff man and the 13th ranked prospect in the Angels system, Livian Soto, in the next at-bat for the final out of the game and the final out of what can simply be described as a real doozy of a ninth inning.


  • Brandon Martorano – C: Martorano made his second consecutive start for the Emeralds and he promptly put forth the most impactful performance of the day, tallying the only multi-hit game for any player on either side (2-for-4) while scoring two of the Emeralds three runs, highlighted by his clutch triple in the ninth that preceded him scoring what was the eventual winning run.

  • Conner Nurse – RHP: Lost in the chaos of Friday’s game was that Eugene’s starting pitcher was solid on the mound, tossing a season-high 5.0 IP with five strikeouts while allowing three hits, two earned runs, and three walks.

  • Eugene Bullpen: The ‘pen continues to be a point of major strength for the Emeralds. Four Emeralds relievers – Bryce Tucker, Solomon Bates, John Russell, and Jose Marte – combined to fire four scoreless innings with six strikeouts while allowing just one hit and one walk.

WHAT’S NEXT: Eugene will face off against the Tri-City Dust Devils again on Saturday night at 6:35pm PST at Gesa Stadium in Pasco, WA. You can listen live to all the action on 95.3FM The Score, via or on the MiLB app.

The Emeralds return home the following week when they will start a six-game series against the Spokane Indians on May 25. Information regarding tickets to Emeralds home games is available at or by calling (541) 342-5367.

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