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Emotions And Emeralds Offense Explode In Wild Win

There is no possible way to adequately contextualize Saturday night’s insane game in a mere one-sentence subtitle, so we won’t try to
July 18, 2021

The Eugene Emeralds (37-27) snapped a two-game skid in dramatic – to put it lightly – fashion on Saturday night with a 10-9 win over the Spokane Indians (30-35) at Avista Stadium. THE DETAILS:

  • Winning Pitcher: Travis Perry (6-1, 5.93 ERA): 1.1 IP | 1 H | 1 R

The Eugene Emeralds (37-27) snapped a two-game skid in dramatic – to put it lightly – fashion on Saturday night with a 10-9 win over the Spokane Indians (30-35) at Avista Stadium.

THE DETAILS:

  • Winning Pitcher: Travis Perry (6-1, 5.93 ERA): 1.1 IP | 1 H | 1 R | 1 ER | 2 BB | 2 K

  • Losing Pitcher: Breiling Eusebio (0-3, 3.21 ERA): 3.1 IP | 3 H | 3 R | 3 ER | 2 BB | 2 K

  • Save: Austin Reich (1): 3.0 IP | 2 H | 1 R | 1 ER | 1 BB | 3 K

  • HR(s): Eugene: Genovés (2), Auerbach (3), Fitzgerald (10) | Spokane: Stovall (3)

HOW IT HAPPENED: In a series that has seen both dugouts direct ample amounts of ire towards the umpiring crew, plenty of calls (and no-calls) once again stole the show on Saturday night.

But before that drama unfolded in the later innings, both offenses went to work early in contrasting manners.

Spokane scored first in the first for the second straight day, taking a 1-0 lead on a Niko Decolati sacrifice fly that scored Jack Blomgren who had earlier reached on a walk and then advanced from first to third on a pickoff throwing error by Emeralds starting pitcher Seth Corry.

Eugene wasted no time answering, though, sending eight batters to the plate in the second and bringing four of them home to score to take a 4-1 lead. The Ems entered Saturday ranked third in the High-A West in runs scored with two outs (155), so it was unsurprising that they did all their damage in the second inning with two outs was a Nolan Dempsey two-RBI double, a Brett Auerbach RBI single, and a Tyler Fitzgerald RBI double saw the Emeralds take a three-run advantage into the bottom half of the inning.

However, Eugene’s second inning lead was short-lived as the frame would end in a 4-4 tie after Spokane tallied runs on a passed ball by Ricardo Genovés, a wild pitch by Corry, and an RBI groundout by Christopher Navarro that together saw three runs come across despite Spokane notching just one hit in the inning.

The Ems put up another crooked number in the ensuing inning to retake the lead in a big, big way. Sean Roby started the inning by slicing a double to the right-center field wall on a 1-2 pitch, and Ricardo Genovés followed in the next at-bat by belting his second two-run homer in as many days to put Eugene back in front, 6-4. The Ems offense was far from done in the third, though, as after a Franklin Labour pop out and a Heath Quinn strikeout, Carter Aldrete reached on an infield single that led Spokane manager Scott Little to turn to his bullpen with Eugene’s number nine hitter Nolan Dempsey due up.

In came reliever Jared Biddy, but the right-hander plunked Dempsey on the third pitch he fired to put runners at first and second. Utility man Brett Auerbach came up and continued Eugene’s trend of scoring with two outs, belting a monster 444-foot, three-run homer to left that cleared the protective netting beyond the left field wall to stretch the Eugene lead to 9-4. Tyler Fitzgerald followed in the very next at-bat with a homer of his own, a solo shot for his tenth of the season to tie him with Will Wilson (who was promoted to Double-A Richmond earlier this month) for the most home runs by an Emerald this season.

Spokane cut Eugene’s lead in half two innings later in the fifth behind a Michael Toglia RBI groundout and later a two-run, cue shot homer by Hunter Stovall that traveled only 320 feet but snuck into the short porch in right to make it 10-7.

The true chaos kicked off two innings later in the seventh. With Ems reliever Travis Perry on the mound after working a quick 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, Aaron Schunk led off with a bloop single to center field and Niko Decolati followed by working a walk despite a couple of close calls around the strike zone. Michael Toglia followed with a walk in the next at-bat to load the bases, and Emeralds manager Dennis Pelfrey then turned to right-hander Austin Reich out of the bullpen. Prior to Reich reaching the mound, Perry was tossed from the game while heading towards the dugout after expressing his frustrations with the game’s home plate umpire.

Reich quickly fell behind to Hunter Stovall, 2-0, but after evening the count at 2-2, Reich induced the rare 5-2-3 double play to put the Emeralds one out away from escaping the jam. With runners at second and third and Daniel Montano at the plate, Reich was called for a balk before firing the first pitch to Montano, forcing home a run to make it 10-0 while advancing another runner to third. Reich rebounded admirably, though, striking out Montano to end the threat and send the game to the eighth.

The best and weirdest moments were saved for last, though. Reich remained in the game with Dennis Pelfrey and pitching coach Alain Quijano putting trust in the undrafted free agent Reich to finish the game, but after Reich struck out leadoff man Jack Blomgren on four pitches, Aaron Schunk doubled on a 1-0 count and Niko Decolati singled on the first pitch of the next at-bat to put runners on the corners with no outs. Reich bounced back to strike out one of the Colorado Rockies’ top prospects Michael Toglia for the second out of the ninth, and the Emeralds seemingly got the final out of the game right after as Decolati took off for second on a stolen base attempt on Toglia’s swinging strike three, but Saturday’s base umpire ruled that Decolati was safe at second to result in the potential winning run in scoring position.

The controversial call at second led to Dennis Pelfrey emerging from the dugout to dispute the call, but he was quickly tossed despite not much over-the-top emotion displayed, leaving the Emeralds without their bench boss while needing just one more out.

Hunter Stovall stepped up and worked a walk on five pitches to load the bases, and a wild pitch on a 1-0 count to Daniel Montano scored a Spokane runner from third to make it 10-9 while advancing the tying run to third and the winning run to second. Spokane would get no closer than ninety feet away from tying the game, though, as Reich reared back three pitches later and blew a fastball by Montano to earn the game-ending strikeout and end an insane game in Eastern Washington as the Ems held on, 10-9.

All nine Emeralds starters in the offensive lineup reached base on Saturday night while Travis Perry picked up his sixth win of the season, tying him for the most wins in the High-A West.

PEAK PERFORMERS:

  • Tyler Fitzgerald – 2B: Returning to the lineup after a regular off day on Friday, Fitzgerald certainly seemed well rested going 3-for-5 with a solo homer, two RBIs and a run scored.

  • Brett Auerbach – CF: Eugene’s do-it-all utility man finished with a game-high four RBIs while going 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

  • Austin Reich – RHP: What a performance. Reich earned a three-inning save while striking out three batters and allowing two hits, one walks, and one earned run.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Eugene Emeralds and Spokane Indians wrap up their six-game series on Sunday at Avista Stadium in Spokane. First pitch on Sunday is slated for 5:09pm 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.

Tickets to Emeralds home games are available at www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or by calling (541) 342-5367.

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