Eight-run fifth inning leads Boise Hawks past Eugene Emeralds

Through four innings Saturday, Eugene Emeralds starting pitcher Matt Andriese and Boise Hawks starting pitcher Yao-Lin Wang were engaged in a scoreless pitchers’ duel. Andriese had five strikeouts at the start of the inning and Wang had four.

For Andriese and the Emeralds, the fifth inning proved to be their undoing. Eugene’s starter was lifted after giving up an infield hit, a walk and an RBI single to Boise left fielder Ben Klafczynski to start the inning. Andriese was then removed from the game after meeting his 65-pitch limit set by the Emeralds’ parent club, the San Diego Padres.

It got no better when reliever Chris Haney took the mound, as seven more Hawks runs crossed the plate under his watch before he too was yanked, in favor of reliever Paul Bingham, who struck out Klafczynski to end the inning after 12 Boise Batters came to the plate. The Emeralds’ defense was partially to blame, as third baseman Clint Moore had a throwing error on a sacrifice attempt, and catcher Jhonaldo Pozo had a passed ball on a strikeout that allowed Hawks third baseman Willson Contreras to reach base.

“That big inning, nothing seemed to go our way — didn’t execute a bunt play, didn’t block a ball, didn’t catch the ball,” first-year manager Pat Murphy said. “Other than that one inning, it was a good ballgame.”

For Wang, there were no such difficulties, as he cruised through five innings, giving up two hits, striking out six batters and issuing two walks, leading the Hawks (1-1) to a 10-2 win over the Emeralds (1-1).

“The pitcher was on his game,” Emeralds second baseman Cory Spangenberg said. “It’s hard to produce when a pitcher is pitching good.”

Boise was led offensively by Klafczynski, who went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored, and by right fielder Reggie Golden, who went 2 for 4 with an RBI, two runs and a walk.

Eugene struggled to make contact in the game, striking out 11 times and getting only two hits in the first eight innings before scoring two consolation runs in the ninth inning.

“Most of the strikeouts happen because you leave the zone, so you have to stay in the zone and swing at pitches in the zone. Usually when they swing at pitches in the zone, you’ll see contact,” Murphy said. “The problem is, they leave the zone.”

Eugene’s ninth-inning runs came from back-to-back doubles by shortstop Jace Peterson and Spangenberg, the only Emerald to reach base more than once. He reached base by walking in the first inning, getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning and the aforementioned double.

“I was just trying to get something started. The pitchers threw good tonight, and unfortunately we just couldn’t get it going ’til the ninth,” Peterson said. “Hopefully, we can carry that over to tomorrow.”

Murphy took the opportunity toward the end of the blowout to get his reserve players some at-bats — two games into the season, every one of his hitters has at least one plate appearance. Also, every Emeralds reliever except Will Scott has appeared in a game.

“It’s the game of baseball; you have these losses a few times in the season. You just have to come out and play tomorrow,” Spangenberg said. “That’s why they play 77 games.”

The Hawks and Emeralds will play game three of their five-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. at PK Park.


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Kenny Ocker

Kenny Ocker