The Eugene Emeralds opened their five-game homestand against the Everett AquaSox with a 4-3 win Saturday night at PK Park.
Shortstop Aramis Ademan went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs to help the Emeralds jump out to an early 4-0 lead after two innings. The AquaSox plated a run in the third and two more in the fifth but Eugene’s four runs proved to be all it needed to hang on for the win.
With the win, the Emeralds improve to 17-13 and take sole possession of first place in the Northwest League South.
In only his the second start as a member of the Emeralds, starter Jose Albertos pitched five innings and allowed five hits, three runs (all earned), walked two and struck out four to pick up the win. Albertos is the No. 7-rated prospect in the Cubs farm system and has spent time with both the Emeralds and the Arizona League Cubs this summer.
Through four innings, the highly-touted prospect appeared as good as advertised. He held the AquaSox in check to the tune of two hits, one run and four strikeouts over that span.
But what started as the makings of a gem turned south in the fifth inning. Everett scored two runs to make it a 4-3 game and ensured that Albertos wouldn’t return for the sixth. He didn’t, and was replaced by Andry Rondon, who went a perfect two innings in relief.
Elvis Diaz then replaced Rondon on the bump for the Emeralds. He walked the leadoff man in the eighth inning, who reached scoring position a batter later on a sacrifice bunt. With the tying run on second, Diaz then struck out Onil Pena and Johnny Adams to escape the jam.
Jake Steffens closed the game out with a perfect ninth inning for his first save of the season.
The Emeralds got the game off to a quick start in the bottom of the first. Zach Davis singled to leadoff the game. Two outs later, and with Davis still on first, Gustavo Polanco singled on a ball deflected by Everett’s third basemen to set up runners on first and second for the red hot Brandon Hughes.
Hughes, who entered Saturday’s game 9-for-20 in his short stint with the Emeralds, continued his hot streak with an RBI single to right to get Eugene on the board in the first. That was one of two runs the Emeralds scored to jump ahead 2-0 after the first inning.
The Emeralds added two more runs an inning later when Ademan doubled to score Rafael Narea and Davis. After two innings, Eugene led 4-0.
The AquaSox got onto the board in the third inning with an RBI single from Eugene Helder to make it a 4-1 game. Helder went one-for-three in the game but drove in a team-high two runs.
The Emeralds are back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. for the second game of their five game series with the AquaSox.