Eugene can't get timely hit in loss

Chris Wilkes

Eugene, OR-- The Eugene Emeralds (0-2) took to the field on Father's Day for game two of their three-game series against league rival the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (2-0).

The Ems jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning, after an RBI single by second basemen Kevin Winn, and a fielders choice RBI by Jason Codiroli, but like last night, they fell apart they fell apart as starting pitcher Chris Wilkes gave up six hits and five earned runs in the fifth inning.

Wilkes, who was drafted by the Padrees in the 22nd-round of the 2008 First Year Player Draft, faced just 12 batters through four innings. His bid for a perfect game was broken up in the top of the fifth inning when Volcanoes' third baseman Evan McArthur connected for a double. McArthur scored from second when designated hitter Francisco Peguero slapped an RBI single during the ensuing at-bat. From there, the floodgates opened wide and the runs began to pour in. Peguero scored after Juan Martinez tripled to right field. Ryan Lollis followed with an RBI single. The Volcanoes continued the offensive output and exploded for a total of six hits and five runs in the fifth inning alone.

Wilkes went 4 2/3 innings, giving up six hits, five runs, no walks, striking out four and facing a total of 20 batters, before being relieved by Ems' right-hander Mauricio Tabachnik.

"I'm happy with [the performance] it," said Wilkes, who is 19-years-old. "Just one bad inning, that's all it is.

"Things were working for me real well. I could put my pitches where I wanted; my slider and changeup were working real well and I was beating them in on the fastball, then in the fifth is when I went away from going in on them, and that's when they started getting those little bloop hits and broken-bat singles."

Wilkes said that fatigue never played a factor.

"They were swinging first-pitch fastball and we didn't correct that," he said. [We] kept throwing first pitch and they just kept hitting away.

"[You] can't look at the negatives. You got to take the positive through four [innings] and just work on eliminating that bad inning."

The Ems had another strong effort at the plate with 11 hits, while the Volcanoes were held to eight. Winn, Griffin Benedict, who got the start as catcher, and Codiroli each went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Ems and combined for three RBI.

"We're hitting the ball nice, we just don't get the timely hit," manager Greg Riddoch said. "It's rookie league baseball and that's kind of what you see every single day."

Riddoch's seemed to reiterate the same thoughts he expressed following Saturday night's home opener loss, those being that it's a long season, the roster will change and players will eventually become more comfortable.

"Everybody's getting their feet wet," Riddoch said. "Got to give everybody a chance to play and see who can do what."

"[It's a]76 game schedule you got to play all the way to the end of 76; you can't be too excited, or disappointed about starting off 2-0 or 0-2."

The win went to Salem-Keizer's left-hander Brandon Graves (1-0), who worked 1 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and no runs and the loss was given to Wilkes (0-1).

Monday night's series finale is slated to start at 7:05 p.m.

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