Ems’ left-hander Nick Greenwood. who was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 14th-round of the 2009 First Year Player Draft, started on the mound Monday night and gave up five hits, one run and struck out four batters in 4 2/3 innings of work. Greenwood left with the game tied 1-1, and he didn’t pick up the win, but gave Aquasox’s batters problems with his ability to locate his pitches.
“Our plan was to go inside all day,” Greenwood said. “They have a tough time with low velocity and throwing inside. I had my two-seamer [fastball] working really good and to offset it, my curveball felt really good today.”
The bullpen also came up huge again for the Ems, as the Aquasox were unable to score more than one run in each of the three innings they scored. Mauricio Tabachnik relieved Greenwood in the top of the fourth, and worked 2 1/3 innings giving up two hits and one run. Jeff Ibarra replaced Tabachnik, but got into a jam and was relieved by David Erickson after just 1/3 of an inning. Erickson shut the door on the Aquasox, not allowing a hit, or a run in 1 2/3 innings.
“We made pitches when we had to make them,” Greenwood said.
Despite the bullpen’s success, the Aquasox threatened the Ems in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, the inning got off to a rough start as Tabachnik gave up a lead-off single to Blake Trinkler. Trinkler advanced to third after Anthony Phillips reached first on an error after his sacrifice bunt. Trinkler then scored on a ground ball hit by Jose Rivero. Tabachnik got out of the inning after the Ems second baseman Brayden Drake turned a double play and Tabachnik struck out Gerardo Avila.
The Ems got in another tight spot in the eighth, as left-hander Jeff Ibarra, who replaced Tabachnik, gave up a lead-off double to Aquasox catcher Juan Fuentes. Welington Dotel then reached first on an error, as Fuentes scored. During the next at-bat, Ryan Royster hit a dribbler back to Ibarra, who threw the ball to second, trying to turn a double play, but the throw was too late and Dotel and Royster reached second and first safely and Ibarra’s short evening was done.
With runners on first and second and one out, manager Greg Riddoch brought in right-hander David Erickson to relieve Ibarra, who gave up one run and two hits in 1/3 inning. Erickson got the Ems out of the inning after he forced Trinkler to pop out, and got Phillips to ground out to second, preserving the Ems’ 4-3 lead.
The Ems did most of their damage at the plate during the seventh inning, as they scored two runs and tallied four hits. The rally started as Aquasox’s pitcher Christian Staehely gave up a lead-off hit to Chris Tremblay. Tremblay then stole second and Bo Davis singled, moving Tremblay to third. Tremblay then scored on a wild pitch. So with one out and Davis on second, Aquasox manager made a pitching change, bringing in right-hander Andrew Carraway.
The Ems then got an unexpected offensive boost from newcomer Jason Hagerty, who was just assigned to the Ems on June 25th after reaching a deal with the Padres. Hagerty, who got the start at catcher, smacked a double to shallow right off of Carraway, bringing home Davis, who scored the Ems’ second run of the inning after sliding underneath the tag by Fuentes.
“I was struggling earlier in the day; I was trying to do to much with the ball,” said Hagerty, who finished 1-for-4 with one RBI. “I faced the pitcher, Andrew Carraway, in college. He went to Virginia, he’s a great pitcher and he definitely got on me a few times, but the last 3-2 pitch he just hung a changeup up there and I was able to put it through the hole.
“I sat around for a month so I kind of lost my timing at the plate. It’s going to take me a couple at-bats to really get back into shape and it showed early.”
Hagerty, who has been at his home in St. Louis working out a deal with the Padres, joined the Ems during their away series in Yakima, Wash., where he was only able to watch, because he hadn’t taken his physical.
“Tonight’s the first time he caught,” Riddoch said. “ [He] didn’t really have the grasp of all the signs, which you wouldn’t expect him to already, but I thought he did a great job.”
The Ems’ also got solid offensive performances from first-baseman Nate Freiman, who went 2-for-4 with one RBI, and center fielder Bo Davis, who went 2-for-3 with one run scored. Both teams finished with nine hits in the game.
Riddoch said he has seen a steady pitching improvement in the current three-game win streak but tries not to pay to much attention to the ups and downs of the season.
“Streaks can get in your way both directions,” Riddoch said. “Snowballs roll up hill and they roll downhill, so we try to not get too excited about that kind of stuff.”
On top of the acquisition of Hagerty, multiple transactions have taken place for the Ems. As of June 25th, Outfielder Chadd Hartman was promoted to Fort Wayne of the Midwest League and the Padres assigned pitchers Jerry Sullivan and Miles Mikolas to Eugene.
Game three of the six-game series is slated to begin Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.