The Emeralds came out of the gates swinging, scoring two in the first. Jace Peterson led off with a walk, and Justin Miller followed with a single that amounted to an inside-the-park homerun due to two errors by the Dust Devils. Right fielder Juan Crousset overthrew Ryan Casteel at catcher trying to get Peterson out. Miller moved to third on the overthrow, and Casteel then sent the ball into left over Jayson Langfels head. This allowed Miller to come home.
The Emeralds scored again in the second, but the real offensive explosion came in the fourth. They scored six runs and completely circulated through the order. Jose Dore led off with a walk, followed by a single by Jeremy Rodriguez. Kyle Gaedele followed with an RBI single. Peterson hit into a fielders choice, and Miller hit an RBI single. Travis Whitmore followed with the biggest hit of the night, a bases clearing triple. Zach Kometani was hit by a pitch, and Matt Colantonio followed with a double. The inning finally ended when Lee Orr struck out swinging.
“He just missed with the fastball, and I though he was gonna come in again, and he did,” Whitmore said. “Left it over the plate a little bit and I tossed myself into the corner.”
The Dust Devils came right back, scoring five runs in the fifth. Casteel led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Crousset hit into a fielders choice, and Taylor Featherston followed with an RBI single. Blake McDade then hit a double, scoring Featherston. David Hernandez followed with an RBI single. Brian Humphries hit a two RBI single to left, Jaron Shepherd grounded out to short, and Tyler Massey hit an RBI single. Simon Berroa struck out Langfels to end the inning.
“Whitmore, Colantonio, Miller, and Rodriguez, those four really swung it great. Got hits in clutch time,” Murphy said. “Got some extra base hits. Juan Herrera was lights out for four, and the long layoff he couldn’t get back on track. Walked a guy, gave up five hits in a row.”
Miller had a good night, going 2-for-3 with two singles and two walks. Every player reached base at least once, and many had multiple hits. Whitmore went 2-for-4 with a triple and a single. Colantonio went 2-for-5 with a single and a double.
“Miller made some good plays tonight. He doesn’t know a lot about second base but I’m proud of what he’s done and offensively he’s given us an advantage,” Murphy said. “His presence, the way he plays the game, is noticeable. But Whitmore has also played very, very good as of late. Its been about five or six games in a row he’s been really good. I mean, you look at his batting average over the last five games he’s been really good. J Rod, its neat to see, he went about a month long where he was trying a little bit too hard and I think he’s settling down a little bit.”
The Dust Devils chipped back at the lead, scoring one in the eighth and ninth. But ultimately it was not enough to pull off the comeback.
The Emeralds lead the current series against the Dust Devils 3-1, and play their final game Saturday evening at PK Park. The series is tied at six all for the year.