Esmeraldas 2 games out of first after Thursday’s win over Tri-City

The Eugene Emeralds defeated the Tri-City Dust Devils by a final score of 10-5. The Emeralds now move to 27-26 on the year and sit just 2 games out of first place in the Northwest League.

Tri-City jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. After 3 of the first 4 batters were able to reach base, Alexander Ramirez ripped a liner down the 3rd base line for a double and all 3 runs were able to get home and score. In the third and fourth innings they were able to score a run in each inning and ejected John Michael Bertrand from the game. It was a tough outing for John Michael, but he got out of some tough spots and kept the Ems in the ball game. He struck out 3 batters in 3.1 innings of work.

In the second inning, the Ems were able to open the floodgates. The first two batters were retired, but then the 2-out rally for the Ems began. Luis Toribio, Michael Wielansky and Edison Mora hit three straight singles to load the bases and roll the lineup. Grant McCray, the leadoff hitter, ripped a single to right field and 2 runs could be scored. Carter Howell followed him and got on base by mistake. Edison Mora was able to score on the play to tie the game at 3-3.

The next batter, Victor Bericoto, doubled into the gap and both McCray and Howell were able to score to give the Emeralds a 5–3 lead. They followed it up in the third inning with a few more runs. Aeverson Arteaga led off the inning with a walk, and after a stolen base, Toribio singled to the outfield and Arteaga was able to rush to score. A couple batters later, Edison Mora tripled into right-center field space and Toribio came home to score easily. A wild pitch sent Mora home and gave Eugene the 8-4 lead after the first 3 frames.

The Emeralds bullpen was dominant once again, pitching 5 ⅔ innings and not allowing an earned run. Ben Madison pitched nearly 2 innings of work and allowed just one baserunner per walk and struck out four. Madison qualified for the win tonight, and with tonight’s win he now has a team leading 7 wins. Nick Morreale had a fantastic outing, pitching the 6th and 7th inning and didn’t allow a single baserunner and was also able to strike out 3. It was a great performance from the pen for Madison and Morreale who did a good job eating. some of those intermediate inputs.

Mat Olsen and Tyler Myerick pitched the eighth and ninth innings for the Ems and combined for just one walk and one hit allowed and didn’t allow a run. They also combined to strike out a combined 3 batters. It could have been a potential save opportunity for Tyler Myerick, but in the bottom of the eighth inning, Michael Wielanksy was able to lead off the inning with a single. After Edison Mora hit a fielder’s pick that put him at first base, Grant McCray hit a ball to deep right-center field that missed the fence by just a couple of feet. He was able to get to third base easily and Mora scored on the play. Two batters later, Victor Bericoto did something similar when he missed a home run a couple of feet to left field. The ball hit the top of the wall and McCray was able to easily score and give the Emeralds their 10th and final run of the game.

Grant McCray had a monstrous day at the plate, going 3-5 with two singles and a triple. He scored two runs, drove in four and also stole 2 bases, including stealing third base late in the game. Victor Bericoto continued his reign of terror at Gesa Stadium, going 3-5 with 3 RBIs. Bericoto has now recorded a 3-hit game in both games to start the series against the Dust Devils.

For Eugene, this was a pivotal game in the series. It evens the series at 1 game apiece and keeps them right in the hunt for the first half title in the Northwest League. Spokane currently sits alone at the top with a game advantage over second place Vancouver Canadiens. Eugene and Tri-City are currently tied for third place as they are only 2 games behind first. Everett is also just 2.5 games out of first as it currently sits in fifth place and Hillsboro sits at the bottom of the standings at 7.5 games. It’s a legit 5-team race right now for the first half title, with just 13 games remaining after Thursday night’s win.

The Ems will be back in action Friday night against the Dust Devils with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 pm Nick Sinacola will be in the pothole for the Ems and they will look to take a 2-1 series lead.