“I was looking for a fastball and I just did what I am taught and that is to just go with it when it’s on the outer half,” said Pickett of his double that started the scoring for the Ems.
After having no success against Tri-City starter Marco Duarte through four innings, the Ems exploded for five runs in the fifth. A leadoff walk and a single set the table for Pickett. The right-handed hitter came through with an opposite field double to score Robbie Blauer and Yefri Carvajal. Choking way up on the bat, Luis Durango took Duarte’s first offering down the line in left for an RBI-double. Eric Sogard capped the scoring outburst by working the count and plastering a fastball over the fence in right-center field.
Eugene starter John Hussey got into trouble early and often but showed an affinity for getting out of it. Two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases in the first, but Hussey recorded three consecutive outs without giving up a run. Hussey stranded six runners in his five innings of work.
The Dust Devils scored the game’s first run in the fourth inning. Kevin Clark notched their first hit of the night, a double off the top of the wall in center and scored on Mike Mitchell’s sacrifice fly.
The Dust Devils clawed closer in their half of the seventh. Nine hitter Nate Anderson singled through the hole between first and second base. Everth Cabrera followed suit with a towering two-run home run to right field. The big blast made the score Eugene 5 and Tri-Cities 3, but the Dust Devils would get no closer.
Hussey gave up only two hits and one run in five innings of work. His ability to make quality pitches in tight situations saved the Ems from being in a big hole early. The native Australian picked up the win to improve to 3-1 in his stint with Eugene after struggling earlier this year in Fort Wayne.
The Ems added insurance runs in the seventh. Durango’s second hit of the night also produced his second RBI. His liner easily scored Pickett from third. Then, Sogard walked to load the bases for Justin Baum and he fought from an 0-2 hole to lace a ball over the right fielder’s head for a two-run double. Kellen Kulbacki’s sacrifice fly out to the warning track gave the Ems another run and that was all the bullpen would need.
Corey Kluber and Jeremy Hefner pitched four innings in relief for the Ems. Emeralds pitching gave up only four hits on the night. Kluber gave up the two-run homer in the seventh. Duarte took the loss for the Dust Devils.
Pickett finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI’s and he showed some impressive speed on the base paths, especially for a catcher. It appeared that he might have been able to stretch his double into a triple.
“ I ain‘t the quickest guy in the world, and I didn‘t want to chance it since I was already in scoring position”, said Pickett in of his decision to stop at second rather than try for the rare triple by a catcher.
The win kept the Ems seven games behind the absolutely torrid pace being set by the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. They were winners over Yakima tonight.
- Durango (3), Andy Parrino (2), Baum (2), Sogard (2) and Carvajal (2) all had multi-hit games for the Emeralds.
- In addition to his great night at the plate Justin Pickett showed his leadership skills. He had words with Tri-City leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera when Pickett thought he showed up his pitcher.
“He kind of stood and watched it for a while and I told [Cabrera] that next time he hits a home run he should just run around the bases,” Pickett noted after the game. “There were no hard feelings. I just wanted to tell him.”
- Just to emphasize the competitive disparity between the two NWL divisions, If Eugene was in the East division entering today they would be in first place by 7.5 games instead of their current position in the West where they trail by 7 games.
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