“It’s tough man, we have been trying to put some things together, but it has been a rough couple weeks,” said Kellen Kulbacki. “When we are hitting we are not pitching well and when we pitch well we are not hitting.”
Vancouver starter Brad Hertzler was the story. He gave up three runs in the first inning, but settled down nicely and pitched the next six innings without surrendering a run. Hertzler picked up the win to improve to 3-5.
Eugene starter Jeremy Hefner was in control all night until he ran into trouble in the sixth. Hefner had good command of his fastball and his breaking ball was sharp as he used it to strikeout six Canadians. In the sixth, Vancouver sandwiched two hits around a fielder’s choice and had runners at the corners with one out. Matthew Sulentic cleared the bases with a double over Brian Chalk’s head in center. Grant Desme was up next and he walked. Chris Perez entered the game for the Ems and tried to get out of the inning with the lead intact. He would fail to do so. Daniel Hamblin laced Perez’s second pitch off the wall to tie the game. The next hitter Dusty Napoleon grounded out to short, but Desme was able to score and the Canadians had their first lead.
Hefner was the tough luck loser as he pitched much better than the result he got. His record dropped to 2-3.
The only success the Emeralds had at the plate was in the first inning. Luis Durango got on and wreaked havoc on the base paths. Hertzler paid so much attention to Durango that he hardly focused on the batter at all. Robbie Blauer walked and Hertzler continued in his attempts to pick off Durango. Kulbacki made Hertzler pay for his lack of focus as he belted a three-run homer over the right field fence.
“It was a curveball, I was just sitting back on it and it felt good,” Kulbacki said of his dinger.
Vancouver put the game out of reach in the eighth with three more runs. The first two men reached on an error by Felix Carrasco and a walk. Desme punished those mistakes with a three-run home run to center that sent the Ems to yet another loss.