Emeralds lose golden opportunity

Eugene, OR: The offensive woes continue for the Emeralds, who fell 3-0 to the Everett AquaSox. The Emeralds must win tomorrow or have the Vancouver Canadians lose their next two games to have an automatic bid to the playoffs.

Emerald starting pitcher Matt Andriese had a shaky but solid start. He pitched five innings, allowing two hits and no runs. He struggled in the second, allowing a leadoff single to James Wood and then hitting Jharmidy DeJesus. He got two strikeouts and a groundout to escape a potential rough inning.

The lack of offense continues to be the Emeralds downfall. They managed only five hits and struck out seven times.

The Emeralds were strong on the base paths, stealing six bases to put themselves in good position.

"Its frustrating," manager Pat Murphy says. "Steal six bases out there and see if you can find a team ever played in the Northwest League where the team that stole six bases didn't score a run. Offensively inept."

The Emeralds were unable to get timely hits and were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

They advanced a runner into scoring position almost every inning, but were unable to bring them home. A runner reached second base in each of the first six innings outside of the fourth.

Lee Orr had the big hit of the night with a leadoff double in the sixth. This appeared promising, but two groundouts and a fly-out stranded Orr on second.

The Emeralds threatened again in the seventh. Mike Gallic led of with a single. He stole second, and advanced to third with no outs. In his first game back from suspension for drug use, Donovan Tate struck out to end the inning.

"The guys kept getting out there," Murphy said. "The sixth, seventh, eighth innings, we kept getting opportunities with one or no outs. You first gotta credit their pitchers. Their reliever right there did a great job. Threw pitches for strikes. And the fact is that we hit a couple balls, but we probably had five or six hard contacts the whole day. The pitching was pretty good for the most part. I mean, what are we hitting? As a team in the past 10 games, I bet we're hitting under .200."

Despite the offensive woes, the Emeralds had some outstanding defensive plays. With men on first and second in the seventh, Jorge Minyety made a great diving catch to rob Larry Gonzalez of a double and two RBI.

The pitching staff continues to impress. Cody Hebner threw two innings, allowing one run and two hits while striking out three.

Luis De La Cruz followed with two innings of relief. AquaSox third baseman Ramon Morla hit a two-run home run in the ninth to blow the game open.

With a win tomorrow night, the Emeralds can send a message that they can bounce back and win under pressure.

"We've responded all year long," Murphy said. "And still have a lot to be proud of. Just have to get past, have to do what they did last night. Offense wasn't exactly great last night. It's a rough patch. It comes at an inopportune time and there's no excuses. Just gotta get it done tomorrow."

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