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Quinn Powers Win With Two-Homer Night

Eugene plates twelve for the second straight night and Heath Quinn accounts for half of those runs while the bullpen puts forth another strong collective showing
(Gary Breedlove)
July 15, 2021

The Eugene Emeralds (36-25) put up twelve runs for the second straight night in Eastern Washington, roaring back in emphatic fashion to down the Spokane Indians (28-34), 12-6, in the second game of a six-game series in Spokane, Washington. THE DETAILS:

  • Winning Pitcher: Jasier Herrera (1-0, 5.01 ERA): 2.0

The Eugene Emeralds (36-25) put up twelve runs for the second straight night in Eastern Washington, roaring back in emphatic fashion to down the Spokane Indians (28-34), 12-6, in the second game of a six-game series in Spokane, Washington.

THE DETAILS:

  • Winning Pitcher: Jasier Herrera (1-0, 5.01 ERA): 2.0 IP | 2 H | 1 R | 1 ER | 2 BB | 1 K
  • Losing Pitcher: Fineas Del Bonta-Smith (1-2, 4.91 ERA): 1.0 IP | 1 H | 3 R | 3 ER | 2 BB | 1 K
  • Save: N/A
  • HR(s): Eugene: Fitzgerald (8), Quinn 2 (2, 3), Labour (8) | Spokane: Datres (6), Cope 2 (1, 2)

HOW IT HAPPENED: Wednesday was a wild one to say the least, a seesaw affair that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours, and through the first few frames it seemed as if Spokane would surge to a blowout victory of their own.

Eugene struck first on Tuesday by plating a pair of runs in the top of the first, but the Indians returned the favor twenty-four hours later, jumping out to an early first inning lead thanks to three straight one-out hits – a single by Aaron Schunk, a double off the short wall in right field by Niko Decolati, and a broken bat RBI groundout by Michael Toglia that scored Schunk to make it 1-0, Spokane.

Spokane’s early lead was about as short-lived as possible thanks to Tyler Fitzgerald who led off the top of the second by hammering the first pitch he saw, a monster shot to left that nearly cleared the protective netting behind the twenty-foot Avista Stadium wall to tie the game at 1-1 on what was Fitzy’s eighth homer of the season, at the time putting him in sole possession of first on the team in that category.

The Indians answered back in the third, and again much of the damage came with one out on the board. Isaac Collins reached on a first pitch single to center field after Emeralds starter Conner Nurse struck out Christopher Navarro in the previous at-bat, but Nurse got what appeared to be a tailor-made double play ball back to him on a soft grounder off the bat of Aaron Schunk. Nurse fielded the soft grounder cleanly and then pirouetted around before firing to second base aiming to start a 1-4-3 inning-ending double play, but the throw by Nurse was in the dirt and out of the reach of a covering Auerbach, skipping into center field and resulting in both runners being safe at first and second instead of serving as the second and third outs of the inning.

After a Niko Decolati walk in the ensuing at-bat, Michael Toglia made Nurse pay for his mistake by roping a double down the right field line to bring home a pair of Spokane runs and put the home side back in front, 3-1.

Nurse was able to escape the third without surrendering any more runs, but he ran into more trouble in the fourth inning, an inning that he ultimately was unable to escape from. Kyle Datres led off the fourth with a solo home run to left, his sixth homer of the season, and catcher Daniel Cope followed in the next at-bat by slicing a homer around the right field foul pole and into the short porch in right, his first home run of the season, putting the Indians up 5-1 with still no outs in the inning.

Back-to-back singles by Christopher Navarro and Isaac Collins, respectively, ultimately led Ems manager Dennis Pelfrey to turn to his bullpen and bring in Jasier Herrera with still no outs, and at the time it appeared as if the Indians could be on the verge of busting the game open. However, Herrera was able to help the Emeralds escape from the inning without surrendering another run, netting a pop put from Aaron Schunk, a strikeout from Toglia, and a soft groundout by Brenton Doyle to end the inning.

The momentum began to shift after that would-be inning for the Indians, and it started immediately in the fifth. Franklin Labour led off the inning by tying Tyler Fitzgerald for the team lead in homers, going the opposite way for a solo shot and his second homer in as many games to put the Emeralds within three, 5-2. Heath Quinn followed two batters later by doing exactly what Labour did, homering the opposite way for the second time in as many days, also a solo shot that pulled the Emeralds within two, 5-3.

Spokane stretched their lead back to three in the fifth when Daniel Cope who, again, entered the day with no homers on the season, launched a ball to left that caromed off the top of the left field wall and into the parking lot beyond it for what was the sixth overall homer of the game – all of the solo variety – to push Spokane’s lead to 6-3.

That proved to be the last time Spokane would score, though, and it turned out that the Emeralds had a lot of scoring still left in them.

Eugene answered back in the sixth, and it all started with a few gutsy takes at the plate from Armani Smith that resulted in a leadoff walk on a full count. Sean Roby followed with a single to left that put runners on first and second with no outs, and Spokane manager Scott Little opted to turn to the bullpen and remove the High-A West wins leader Chris McMahon who despite surrendering three solo homers had largely kept the Emeralds offense in check. That move to the bullpen proved to be a pivotal one as after reliever Fineas Del Bonta-Smith retired the first two batters he faced he issued a walk to Franklin Labour on a full count, and the fourth ball of the at-bat got all the way to the backstop on a wild pitch that allowed Smith to score from third and make it 6-4.

Tyler Flores followed next and worked a walk on a full count to load the bases for Heath Quinn, and the former Samford Bulldog quickly delivered and then some, mashing another opposite field blast, this time of the grand slam variety, bringing home four runs on one swing of the bat for what was his second homer of the game and his third in two games, putting the Emeralds in front for the first time in the game, 8-6.

Eugene went on to add four more in the eighth and put the game well out of reach thanks to a Franklin Labour single that eventually led to a run scoring after a fielding error by Brenton Doyle, a Heath Quinn RBI single that scored Labour, and a two-RBI single by Brett Auerbach that together made it 12-6 after eight innings.

Chris Wright faced the minimum in the ninth, inducing a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Daniel Cope to end a wild win in Eastern Washington.

PEAK PERFORMERS:

  • Heath Quinn – LF: What. A. Night. After homering on Tuesday and earning another start in the lineup – this time in left field after DH-ing on Tuesday – Quinn accounted for half of Eugene’s offensive output on Wednesday, finishing the night 3-for-4 with six RBIs, three runs scored, and two homers.
  • The Bullpen: The Eugene bullpen moved to 23-1 on the season as Jasier Herrera picked up his first win of the year and fellow relievers Solomon Bates, Austin Reich, and Chris Wright helped get the Emeralds over the finish line. Together, the foursome combined to fire 6.0 innings with three strikeouts while allowing just three hits and five walks.
  • Franklin Labour – RF: Labour continues to check numerous boxes in terms of offensive production, finishing the night 2-for-3 with an RBI (coming on the solo HR), three runs, a walk and a stolen base.
  • Tyler Fitzgerald – SS: Speaking of checking boxes, Fitzgerald continues to do the same as well, serving as one of the steadiest forces in what has at times been a potent offensive attack. The Springfield, IL native finished Wednesday 2-for-4 with the solo homer, two runs scored and a walk.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Eugene Emeralds and Spokane Indians continue their six-game series on Thursday at Avista Stadium in Spokane. First pitch on Thursday is slated for 6:30pm PST.

You can listen live to all the action with Alex Stimson on the call via 95.3FM The Score, via MiLB.com or on the MiLB app.

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