Photos: Star Wars night strikes back at PK Park

Emeralds right fielder Jonathan Sierra (22) takes a breath after stealing second base while second baseman LJ Hatch (9) spits. Star Wars night takes place at PK Park during the Eugene Emeralds versus Boise game on Aug. 18, 2018. (Rylee Marron/Emerald)

Two days removed from a seven-game road trip, the Eugene Emeralds defeated the Hillsboro Hops for the second time in as many nights.

Eugene, who had struggled from a pitching standpoint for much of the 2019 season, used four pitchers over nine innings and allowed just one run to secure their 16th win of the year.

The Emeralds needed just two hits in the ballgame, one by way of the solo home run off the bat of Jake Slaughter in the fourth. The other on an RBI double from Luis Vazquez in the seventh. Eugene supplemented the two hits with seven walks and a hit-by-pitch. 

Slaughter talked a bit after the game about what he saw in the at-bat leading up to the aforementioned solo shot: “Saw a lot of fastballs, got in a good count and he threw one up and in. I was lucky I didn’t miss it."

Ryan Jensen got the start for Eugene, allowing just three baserunners while striking out four. He was followed by Yunior Perez, who has some rough outings in the 2019 season. Tonight, though, Perez worked around three hits and two free passes to limit the damage to the Hops’ lone run of the game, an RBI single by left fielder Jesus Marriaga. From there it was three scoreless frames from Chris Kachmar, who struck out three on the way to his third win of the campaign. Riley McCauley closed things down in the ninth to earn his fifth save of the season.

“All of our new guys came in and brought a lot of energy to the team,” Slaughter said. “New hitters have been awesome and the pitchers are settling in. We’ve got a good team.”

Thursday nights pitcher’s duel victory marked the fifth win in the team’s last six contests, a drastic different from their previous 1-5 stretch. The big difference has undoubtedly been the pitching. In the previous six games, in which they’ve had success, they allowed just nine runs. In the early July stretch where they won just one of six, they allowed 49. 

For Hillsboro, University of Oregon alum Ryne Nelson was welcomed back to Eugene with a nice ovation from the PK Park crowd of just over 4,000. It was the first time back in the PK Park for Nelson since being drafted in the second round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in June’s MLB Draft. He tossed a scoreless first in what ended up being his only inning.

Nick Snyder and Wilfry Cruz followed for the Hops, combining for five innings while allowing one run on the Slaughter solo homer. Trevor McKenna was hit with the back-breaker in the seventh via the Vazquez RBI double and picked up the loss. 

Josh Burgmann, of the Emeralds, and Tyler Holton, of the Hops, will go head to head-to-head for their respective ball clubs. The Ems will go for the three-game sweep Friday night with first pitch scheduled at 7:05 p.m.

Follow Brady on Twitter @BradyLim619

Brady Lim is a sports reporter, currently covering the beat for Ducks football and the Eugene Emeralds. Brady is originally from San Diego, California and is a senior at the University of Oregon.

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