The Eugene Emeralds rode an explosive three-run eighth to a win over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-1 as they continue their dominance over the Volcanoes this season. They have a chance to sweep the Volcanoes tomorrow, and lead the season series 9-1.
The Emeralds benefited from quality starting pitching from Cody Hebner. Hebner went four innings, allowing only two hits and one run. He walked three and struck out four.
There was solid relief as well. Simon Berroa, Kyle Brule and Luis De La Cruz combined for five innings of scoreless pitching. The Volcanoes were held to five hits, and Berroa got the win, lowering his ERA to 2.97.
The Emeralds scored early with one run in the first. Jace Peterson led off the game with a single, and stole second. Two batters later Duanel Jones reached on a throwing error, scoring Peterson.
Sloppy defense hindered the Volcanoes, as they committed three errors in the game. Starting pitcher Lorenzo Mendoza had a solid outing, allowing five hits and only one earned run. The other run was a result of Garrett Buechele’s throwing error.
The Volcanoes struck back immediately, scoring in the top of the second. Kaohi Downing led off with a walk, and moved to third on Joe Staley’s single. He came home on Chuckie Jones’s RBI fly-out to left field.
The Emeralds scored another in the third, making it 2-1.The game stayed close until the seventh, when the Emeralds broke it open with three runs.
Lee Orr led off the seventh with a walk, and stole second. Jose Dore followed with another walk.
“I mean that was the best at-bat I had all night,” Orr said. “Got down 0-2, and then battled back and drew the walk. Got guys on, and Jace had the big hit. He got it all going and we really needed it.”
Peterson came up with the biggest hit of the game with a bases clearing triple.
“I tried to get the bunt down unfortunately I couldn’t,” Peterson said. “But I got a good pitch to hit and I drove it into the gap for a couple of runs.”
Casey McElroy scored Peterson from third with an RBI single. Jones followed with another single, moving McElroy to second. They both moved up on a pass ball by Volcanoes pitcher Rafael Martinez. The Emeralds were unable to score them from second and third, but the three runs proved to be all they needed.
The Volcanoes did not threaten again, getting only one hit through the eighth and ninth.
The fans came for a show, and they certainly got one. Good pitching, timely hitting and solid Emeralds defense plus a fireworks shop to cap it off provided the perfect Friday evening.
“We’ve played good ball against them. Hopefully we’ll see them in the playoffs” Peterson said.