Before fireworks lit up the Eugene sky for the Fourth of July, the Everett AquaSox created some fireworks of their own. The AquaSox drubbed the Eugene Emeralds 13-4 Thursday night at PK Park.
It was right hander Yunior Perez, who got the start on the mound for the Emeralds. Perez left pitches over the plate for much of his outing, an outing that saw him surrender five hits and four runs in just one and one-third inning.
Head coach Lance Rymel piggybacked Perez with another righty in Jesus Tejada in the second inning. However, three hits, four walks and six runs later, Tejada exited after a one and one-third inning outing of his own.
Although the AquaSox enjoyed a healthy night at the plate up and down the lineup, it was third baseman Austin Shenton who did the most damage for the AquaSox. Shenton knocked in three early runs and fell a home run shy of the cycle. Second baseman Cesar Izturis Jr. tacked on a pair of doubles and an RBI single as well.
In a way, Thursday’s ballgame was a microcosm of the Emeralds’ play over the past two weeks — since June 25, they had lost seven in a row, then picked up two straight wins to temporarily right the ship. Thursday, they fell behind 11-0 early, then mounted a miniature rally in the late innings to push across four encouraging, yet ultimately insignificant runs.
Also of note Thursday night, second baseman Chase Strumpf made his Emeralds debut as part of a 10-man, MLB draftee reinforcement haul. The UCLA product had some opportunities in the field that he didn’t cash in on, but did push across the Emeralds’ first run of the game in the sixth inning on an RBI double down the left-field line. He later came around to score on an RBI groundout from first baseman Jake Slaughter.
It wasn’t until that sixth inning that Everett starting pitcher Juan Mercedes faced any real difficulty. He navigated the Emeralds lineup nearly flawlessly the first two times through, but three straight hits from Eugene’s top three hitters in order in the sixth eventually marked the beginning of the end of his night. Despite the late trouble, it was a very successful night for the 19-year-old Dominican, who went six innings giving up two runs on six hits and stuck out six.
From there, AquaSox manager Jose Moreno turned the game over to righty Matt Martin, who gave up two runs in the final three innings to polish off the win for Everett.
Despite a disappointing performance a still-packed PK Park crowd was treated to a 15-minute firework spectacular following the loss.
The Emeralds will hand the ball to southpaw Didier Vargas Friday night as they look to get back on track with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.