And then there was one… Thanks to the second comeback effort in as many nights – this time needing extra innings – the Eugene Emeralds (3-0) stand alone atop the High-A West after a dramatic 8-4 win in ten innings over the Spokane Indians (0-3) on Thursday night at Avista
And then there was one… Thanks to the second comeback effort in as many nights – this time needing extra innings – the Eugene Emeralds (3-0) stand alone atop the High-A West after a dramatic 8-4 win in ten innings over the Spokane Indians (0-3) on Thursday night at Avista Stadium in Spokane, Washington.
With Tri-City’s loss to Vancouver on Thursday, the Emeralds are the lone remaining unbeaten team in the six-team circuit.
HOW IT HAPPENED: For the second straight night, the Ems found themselves in an early deficit after Spokane jumped out to a 1-0 lead after one inning of play, but Eugene responded immediately in the top half of the second inning, tying the game on a Diego Rincones RBI double that scored Logan Wyatt to make it 1-1 heading to the home half of the inning.
Spokane wasted no time firing back, though, plating three runs in the bottom of the second to carry a three-run advantage – their largest lead of the series thus far – into the third inning.
That score held all the way until the eighth inning as the Emeralds bullpen stymied the Spokane lineup while the Spokane pitching staff worked itself in-and-out of trouble.
In that eighth inning, Eugene’s potent offense began roaring back to life. The tenth pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Hunter Bishop, picked a perfect time for his first base knock of the game, smoking a double down the right field line to score speedster Simon Whiteman and cut the deficit to two. Moments later, a wild pitch from Spokane reliever Trysten Barlow allowed Will Wilson to score, pushing the Ems’ deficit to just one run.
In the ninth, Whiteman made his mark again. Playing in his first game of the season, the former Yale University Bulldog reached safely with a well-struck one-out single before quickly (and easily) stealing second base and then advancing to third after the throw from Indians catcher Daniel Cope was booted by infielder Eddy Diaz.
With the tying run on third in Whiteman, the Spokane infield was forced to creep up and play on the edge of the infield grass, and the thirteenth overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Patrick Bailey, made them pay, lining a sharp single to the right side of the infield that rocketed off Diaz and into right field to score Whiteman and tie the game at 4-4.
In extras, it was all Emeralds. Bishop started the inning as the runner on second per MLB/MiLB extra inning rules, and Logan Wyatt brought him home on the first pitch of the extra frame, singling right back up the middle to score Bishop and put the Ems in front for the first time in the game, 5-4.
One batter later, Diego Rincones added two runs of insurance with one swing of the bat, hammering a no-doubter to left field for his second home run of the season to make it 7-4. Ismael Munguia made it back-to-back jacks moments later when he went opposite way with a solo shot, his first of the season, and all of the sudden the Emeralds lead had swelled up to four in front of a stunned crowd at Avista Stadium.
Former Washington State Cougar Ryan Walker came in to close it out in the ninth, striking out the side to put the exclamation point on what was a remarkable comeback and a thrilling win for the Ems.
- Logan Wyatt – 1B: The former Louisville Cardinal reached base in all five plate appearances Thursday night, going 2-for-2 with three walks, including the game-winning RBI single on the very first pitch of extra innings. Through three games, Wyatt is batting .556 with six walks.
- Emeralds Bullpen: Starting pitcher Seth Corry fought his control in his Ems debut going just 2.1 innings with five hits, four runs (two earned), five walks and three strikeouts, but the bullpen kept Eugene within reaching distance to set up the comeback. Five Emeralds relievers – Jasier Herrera, Bryce Tucker, Tyler Schimpf, John Russell, and Ryan Walker – combined to shut down the Spokane lineup over 7.2 combined innings, allowing just two hits, no runs, and one walk while striking out fourteen Indians batters.
- Brandon Martorano – C: The former UNC Tar Heel went 1-for-5 at the plate with a double to deep center field in his Ems debut, but his impact was felt most defensively, gunning down two Spokane base-stealers, including nabbing Daniel Cope trying to steal second in the bottom of the ninth.
- Diego Rincones – LF: His stellar start to the season continued Thursday, going 2-for-5 with a game-high three RBIs, including his two-run homer in extras. The Venezuelan has a 1.676 OPS through three games this season.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Ems and Indians face off in the fourth game of a six-game series on Friday evening at Avista Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 6:35pm PST. RHP Nick Morreale is scheduled to make his season debut on the mound for the Ems.
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