Sometimes when you’re struggling, a day off is all you need to reset and get back on track.
That’s what happened for the Eugene Emeralds, which effectively ended their seven game losing streak by taking both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Everett AquaSox.
“Any time you go through a streak like we went through, you get to take a day, take a breath and get back to it,” manager Steven Lerud said.
The scheduled doubleheader meant the two games would last seven innings each.
Both games presented great pitching displays, but did not show much offense as the Emeralds took game one 3-1 and game two 2-1. That one-run win was their first win of that margin this season.
“Those are good ball games to win,” Lerud said. “Winning those one run games are huge. I think it does a lot for the team morale in there…. That was a good day.”
Game one was started by Brailyn Marquez, who went six innings, striking out eight batters while only allowing two hits.
“That was awesome, the way he got after those hitters,” Lerud said. “He’s got that kind of stuff where he can just dominate a lineup.”
Game one was closed out by Luis Aquino, who got his second save of the season.
Game two saw the Ems use more pitchers, thanks to Marquez “saving” the bullpen. Lerud spread the seven innings among four pitchers. Paul Richan, Stephen Ridings and Sean Barry took the first 6.2 innings and Eugenio Palma finished off the last out. The AquaSox could not muster up much of an offense, scoring just one run in the sixth.
“I was able to save some guys” Lerud said. “They came through big.”
Eugene’s offense did just enough to get the job done Sunday putting up five total runs on eight hits.
The first run of the day came in the second inning of game one, when Emeralds’ left fielder and Cubs No. 9 prospect, Nelson Velazquez, hit his second home run of the year. The AquaSox tied the game up in the fourth with a home run of their own when Jake Ancha also hit his second home run of the year.
The game did not remain tied for long as Kwangmin Kwon scored in the bottom of the fourth on a passed ball by Ancha. Nico Hoerner scored the third run in the bottom of the sixth on a wild pitch after leading the inning off with a triple, which provided a much-needed insurance run for Aquino, who closed out the win.
Game two’s offense took a lot longer to come around, as the score was tied at zero until the bottom of the fifth inning when Cubs first-round pick Nico Hoerner singled Luis Vazquez home. The RBI was Hoerner’s first of his young Emeralds career. Hoerner then stole second and was knocked in by Luis Diaz to bring it to the final score, 2-1.
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack