Eugene gets crucial win over Salem-Keizer

Eugene, OR-- The Emeralds captured game one of their crucial series with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in grand fashion on Friday night. The Ems bats, dormant early on, came alive at the right time as their six-run sixth catapulted them to a third straight win. The Emeralds 6-1 victory moves them five games back of the Volcanoes.

"That was a great team win," said Justin Baum. "We are confident in our ball club, but we wanted to come out strong and show Salem-Keizer we were a good club."

The sixth started with a bang thanks to Baum. He laced a line drive homerun to left to tie the game. But the Ems were far from done. The next two batters reached and Justin Pickett singled to load the bases for Andy Parrino. Parrino came through with a clutch hit to score two, but he was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double. Catcher Brian Hernandez was hit by the next pitch, leaving runners on first and third for Luis Durango. The man with the league's highest batting average scorched a triple over the centerfielder's head to score Pickett and Hernandez. Eric Sogard came next, and he surprised the Volcanoes with a picture perfect drag bunt that scored Durango.

"We were having good at-bats all night, but for whatever reason we could not get it going until the sixth," Baum said of the team's early struggles. "I was just happy that I could get us on the board and then even more happy that we were able to put up a six spot."

The Ems would never look back, as their tremendous bullpen wrapped up the victory. Matt Handley, Cory Luebke, and Robert Woodard allowed no runs and only one hit in six innings of combined work.

Luebke picked up the win, striking out six, including five in a row at one point. Luebke was lights out,, the lone sour note was that he issued his first walk of the season. He moves to 3-0 while Andy De La Garza took the loss for the Volcanoes.

The Volcanoes, who came in with the highest team batting average only managed two hits. Their lone run came on a two-out double by Garrett Baker in the first inning.

Eugene starter Chris Perez was fairly sharp in his four innings on the mound. He mixed pitches well and settled in nicely after the first inning. Perez struck out three and only gave up the one hit.

Notes:

-The Ems played far better defense than they did the night before. Kellen Kulbacki's diving catch in right likely saved two runs and was probably the most important play of the game. Robbie Blauer also made two nice diving stops and Perez was able to cover. Finally, Danny Payne recorded the game's final out in style, crashing into the wall but hanging on to the ball.

- The Ems were very aggressive on the base paths as they have been most of the season. Sometimes it worked (Pickett scored from first when a good relay would have gotten him) and sometimes it did not (Sogard and Parrino were both thrown out trying to get an extra base).

- Durango (2) and Blauer (2) had multi-hit games for the Ems.

- When the Ems were struggling early on and had not even advanced a runner to second, Riddoch came over to the dugout in the middle of the fourth inning. He joked to the players in the dugout, "I will be standing in that box over by third if anyone would like to come visit me."

- Eugene is first in the league in team pitching and second in team batting. Salem-Keizer is second in team pitching and first in team batting.

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