Barbato pitches gem in Eugene win

John Barbato

Eugene, OR: The Emeralds (18-3) were able to bounce back from their streak-ending loss last night to beat the Yakima Bears (6-14) 6-2. The dominant pitching and another homer from Lee Orr guided the Emeralds to the win.

The team focused on looking ahead to the rest of the season instead of worrying about last night's loss.

"I don't think any of us got too down on ourselves about losing last night," right fielder Lee Orr said. "We didn't play our best game last night. We didn't come out with the right intensity and tonight we came out, played a little bit better and got the win."

Starting pitcher John Barbato went five innings allowing only one hit and no earned runs. He was relieved by Chris Wilkes, who went two innings and also allowed just one hit.

"The story of the game was [John] Barbato and [Chris] Wilkes and Quack [Kevin Quackenbush]," manager Pat Murphy said. "I think they only got three or four hits, and two of them were right down the right field line. Barbato, especially, had some tough luck with the two errors. He used his change-up in innings three and four very well and I'm happy for him. "

The Emeralds had some issues fielding in the second inning. Justin Hilt of the Bears hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Chase Peterson, who made a bad throw to Garce at first. Just two batters later, Jorge Minyety bobbled the ball, allowing Jae Yum Kim on base. This lapse in fielding allowed the Bears their only two runs of the game.

The defensive woes were soon forgotten as the Emeralds broke the game open, scoring four runs in the bottom of the second. Jeremy Rodriguez and Mykal Stokes led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Peterson followed with a walk to load the bases. Minyety hit into a fielder's choice for an RBI.

Two batters later Orr continued his power streak with a three-run homer, giving him three bombs over his last four games.

"He [Orr] has been very clutch for us," Murphy said. "Kind of the way [Clint] Moore was for us early in the season, Orr has had some really big at-bats for us at home."

His homer broke the game open, and the Bears were never able to claw their way back in. Orr has had excellent hitting at home, but is still struggling at the plate away from PK Park.

"Everybody says this is the worst hitting park in the league but for some reason I enjoy it, so maybe I can kind of get over that, get over that hump."

Even with another convincing win, the Emeralds are still struggling with timely hitting. They were only 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and left 10 men on base. They left the bases loaded in the first, and had many chances to score that they were not able to capitalize on.

"You know, we're not playing great baseball. We're leaving a bunch of guys on base, the situational hitting has not been good," Murphy said.

The Emeralds weathered an offensive scare when the Bears put runners on second and third with no outs in the ninth, but Quackenbush was able to strike out three consecutive batters to end the game. Quackenbush continues to impress, staying calm and collected in jams and working his way out of them.

Different guys continue to step up for the Emeralds.

"Slowly Jace Peterson is emerging as a great offensive threat. Jeremy Rodriguez, he's on base a couple times every game, so we're just scraping it together," Murphy said. "Stealing bases and doing little things. Didn't come up with, you know we had a chance to score a lot of runs, I don't know how many we left on base. Orr's hit is huge for the offense cause the other teams pitching is great."

Although still improving, the Emeralds made 2,771 fans happy with a win on a great Thursday night game at PK Park.

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