The Ems combined to use four pitchers who gave up just six hits and fanned 19 batters. On the opposite side of the ball, the Emeralds walked nine batters and spread sixteen base runners over the course of the game.
“We’ve done that before and didn’t answer the call and we end up losing the game, but we did it tonight and came back to win,” manager Greg Riddoch said. “This seems to be a pattern for us, it has been all season.”
Corey Kluber began the game on a strong note, striking out the side with runners on first and second in the first inning. He left the game after giving up one run off three hits in three innings while striking out five.
The Ems got off to a quick start against Juan Ramirez. Luis Durango reached base on an infield single to centerfield and Brian Lauderdale followed up, sending a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall to lift Eugene to an early 2-0 lead. The homerun was Lauderdale’s fourth of the season.
The Emeralds added to their lead in the second as Lance Zawadzki began the inning by hustling out an infield single hit to the left side. Zawadzki scored during the following at-bat when Everett center fielder Greg Halman dropped a routine fly ball hit by newcomer Brad Chalk. Chalk advanced to third base on the play.
Later in the inning, Eugene was again aided by the Aquasox as shortstop Edilio Colina fielded a groundball hit by Lauderdale and threw it just high enough to force Manelik Pimentel to step off first base to make the catch, allowing Chalk to score. The Ems finalized their damage in the inning when Robbie Blauer hit an RBI-single just over the left side of the infield to give the Eugene a 5-0 lead.
The Aquasox struck back in the third when Jermaine Brock singled to right field then stole second to lead off the inning. Kellen Kulbacki made a spectacular diving catch to rob Colina of a single to keep Brock from scoring,
“That really saved us there, because you don’t want to open something up,” Riddoch said.
Pimentel, however, brought Brock home two batters later with a single to shallow right, cutting the Eugene lead to 5-1.
Kulbacki had the play of the game in the fifth when he hit what appeared to be an inning ending fly ball to right-centerfield. Outfielders Halman and Welington Dotel converged on the ball and collided, allowing the ball to carom to the outfield wall.
“I saw them camp underneath it and saw them collide, so I knew I had a good chance,” Kulbacki said.
Dotel could not field the ball in time and Kulbacki rounded the bases for an inside-the-park homerun.
“I was busting my butt to third and saw [Riddoch] waiving me around, so I knew I had to turn on the gears as I rounded third,” Kulbacki said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, whether it was going to be a close play or not. This was the first one I’ve had it my career, so it’s pretty awesome.”
The Sox threatened to break it open in the sixth when reliever Chris Perez juiced the bases after striking out the first two batters. Perez then threw four straight balls to Halman to force in a run, once again bringing Everett within four. Perez got out of the inning with little damage, though, striking out Dotel on three pitches to end the sixth.
Perez again loaded the bases in the seventh, hitting a batter and walking two others. This time, he escaped unscathed, striking out the final two batters to end the inning.
Perez finished by giving up only one earned run despite allowing seven men to reach base in just two innings. He led the Ems with six strikeouts.
Jackson Quezada pitched the final two innings of the game to earn his third win of the season. Quezada struck out three in pitching two perfect innings, the only two in which the Emeralds did not allow a man to reach base.
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