It was another tough night for the Eugene Emeralds on Monday, falling to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 9-7, and moving to 10-15 on the year.
In a break from the recent norm, the Emeralds struck first in this one. Eugene pushed across two runs on back-to-back hits from first baseman Grayson Byrd and designated hitter Jake Slaughter. For Byrd, it was his fifth RBI in five games since joining the club.
Things went south in a hurry for Eugene in the second. The Volcanoes scored eight runs and sent 12 men to the plate in the inning. It was starter Zach Mort who was tagged for all eight runs before eventually being pulled from the game after failing to get through the second.
From there, Eugene slowly chipped away and responded with five unanswered runs to get them within one in the seventh. After doubling home a pair in the inning, left fielder Zac Taylor took off for third and appeared to get in ahead of the tag. Third base umpire Guillermo Rodriguez saw it differently, however, and called him out. The very next batter tripled to the wall in what would have tied the ballgame.
Salem-Keizer added an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI single by third baseman Sean Roby, and right-hander Bryce Tucker slammed the door in the ninth to secure their 17th victory of the season.
It was another strong night offensively for Emeralds’ second baseman Chase Strumpf, who homered, singled and knocked in another run in the ballgame.
“Just tried to build off [Sunday],” Strumpf said. “I got a good pitch in the zone and this one carried out today.”
Tuesday will be the first off day of the season for the Emeralds after playing 25 straight days. For Strumpf and the rest of the 2019 Draftees, it’s only the fifth, but the grind of the minor league season is still a challenge nonetheless.
“It’s a huge adjustment. It’s something you kind of do in summer ball, you play 20-something games in a row and you finally get an off day,” Strumpf said.
Offensively for the Volcanoes, the eight-run second provided just enough cushion to survive 11 K’s and only four hits in the final five innings. All but two of the starting nine came around to score in the game.
Both teams will not get a chance to recharge tomorrow before starting a three-game series on Wednesday in Salem. Kohl Franklin will take his 1.53 ERA to the hill for Eugene, while Salem-Keizer has not yet announced a starter for the game. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.
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