The Dust Devils are visiting from the Northwest League East Division. They won the first half of the season with a record of 22-16 and are guaranteed a position in the playoffs. If the Emeralds advance through the playoffs, these two teams could meet again in September.
Strong pitching from starting pitcher John Barbato kept the Emeralds in the game, but the combination of errors and lack of hitting ultimately did the Emeralds in.
Barbato went 5 2/3 innings and allowed no earned runs. Both runs were scored for the Dust Devils in the fifth, both due to errors. Barbato struck out five and walked two.
“Those two errors in one inning, you know we had a chance to turn a double play,” manager Pat Murphy said. “You get the chance to turn the easy double play, its two-outs man on third. You’re probably in business. Especially the way he’s been pitching. If you don’t turn the double play, it’s a whole different inning, And then you make another error on top of it. Both runs are due to throwing errors and its unfortunate but it’s a part of the game at this level. Just didn’t get anything going offensively, kid [Dust Devils starting pitcher Christian Bergman) pitched very well.”
The trouble started for the Emeralds when Leonardo Reyes was walked to lead off the fifth. Ryan Casteel followed with a single. Juan Crousset reached on an error by Barbato, setting up first and third with one out. Matt Argyropoulos followed, reaching on an error by shortstop Jace Peterson, allowing one run to score. David Hernandez then grounded out, scoring the runner from third.
The Emeralds were unable to string together any offense to counteract their sloppy defense.
The Emeralds amassed four hits, all singles. They only advanced one runner into scoring position, and that was on a Dust Devils error in the fourth. Justin Miller led off the fourth with a single and moved to second on an error. The Emeralds were unable to capitalize with no outs and Miller in scoring position.
Miller had the most productive offensive night for the Emeralds, going 2-for-4 with two singles.
Donavan Tate continues to struggle at the plate, going 0-for-4. He hit into a double play, had two ground outs to the left side of the infield and struck out swinging.
The teams have split the first two games of this five game series, and the Dust Devils now lead the season 5-2.
Murphy is still optimistic about the upcoming games.
“Its about playing solid baseball, and then putting some better at bats together,” he said. “And then hopefully we can get that kind of pitching and the way we’ve been swinging the bat the last six or seven days has been much better than before. So we’ll come back tomorrow. Its part of this thing. It’s a long journey. We’ll fight hard. … So tomorrow we’ve just got to try to string some good at-bats together and capitalize when you do have runners in scoring position.”