Matt Jackson (3-5) got the start for the Ems, but was roughed up early, as he surrendered two runs in the first inning and three runs in the second. Jackson, who has lost his last four starts, gave up five hits, five runs and two walks before being removed after just two innings of work.
“I didn’t get a rhythm from the get-go,” Jackson said. “It was just one of those nights.”
For the Ems, things got much worse before they got better. Jackson was replaced by Ems’ right hander Tyson Bagley in the top of the third, but he too ran into trouble. Bagley gave up three consecutive singles to Bears’ first baseman Ryan Wheeler, third baseman Matt Davidson and right fielder Tim Sherlock to load the bases, before second baseman Gerson Montilla smashed a grand slam home run over the left field wall. In the next at bat, Bagley gave up a double to Tyrell Worthington, and was replaced by Ryan Hinson before ever recording a single out. The Bears got one more run in the third inning on an Astolfo Inciarte RBI before the Ems got out of the inning, but the inning was too much for the Ems to recover from.
Hinson was a bright spot in the otherwise disappointing performance from the Ems pitching staff. He tossed four innings and allowed no runs and just three hits, as he kept the Ems close enough to mount a comeback.
Ems’ first baseman Nate Freiman, who leads the Northwest League in RBI (46), accounted for five of the Ems’ seven runs. Freiman went 3-for-5, with a three-run home run in the first inning, an RBI double in the third inning and a two-RBI single in the sixth inning.
“You know, it’s a long season, you just come to play each night,” said Freiman, who has been on a tear as of late. “Hitting is a funny thing, some nights the ball finds the hole.”
The home run, which came off of Bears’ starting pitcher Andrew Walcott, a former teammate of Freiman’s at Duke University, caused mixed emotions for Freiman.
“That’s one of my best friends,” Freiman said. “I lived with him for three years, he’s a good pitcher. We were lucky to get a couple runs on him; he’s a good player.”
“I want to see him do well, he’s thrown well all summer,” Freiman said. “Obviously it would have been nice to win.”
Both the Ems and the Bears hit the ball extremely well, tallying 15 and 14 hits respectively. Montilla, who hit the grand slam, ended the game just a double away from hitting for the cycle.
The Ems have Wednesday off before they begin a three game home stand with division rival, the Vancouver Canadians (27-31) on Thursday.
“Baseball you come play every night, you play hard and let the chips fall where they may,” Freiman said. “Tonight wasn’t our night, but we have an off day and then we got a series against Vancouver, which is a team in our division, so we’re going to come rested and ready to play on Thursday.
“When we get it all together it’s pretty, but we just have not got it all together,” manager Greg Riddoch said. “It’s either the defense, or the pitching, or the 16 games [when we had a] lead in the sixth and lose.”
“It’s rookie league baseball, you just have to keep plugging, and teaching, even though the record doesn’t reflect how much you’re getting better, guys are getting better and that’s all we look for,” Riddoch said. “It’s a far cry from starting out 1-7, that was ugly.”