The Eugene Emeralds dropped their fourth straight game following their loss to the Spokane Indians on Monday night.
Eugene responded to Spokane scores in the second and third innings with four of their own in the bottom of the third. It all started with a single from nine-hole hitter Luis Diaz, who advanced to second, and then third, on a pair of wild pitches. Fernando Kelli then walked, Pedro Martinez singled and Darius Hill came all the way around to third on what can be generously described as a "little-league triple." The scorebook described it as an error on Indians’ pitcher Juan Mejia, who sailed a throw to first down the right field line, allowing two runs to cross.
Despite the miscue, it was a very good night on the mound for Mejia. He came on in the third to relieve starting pitcher Josh Javier, and proceeded to toss three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while punching out two.
For Spokane, the difference in the game ultimately came in the fourth inning when they plated three, the last coming across on an RBI double from Blaine Crim. Crim doubled twice and reached base four times in the contest.
In the eighth the Indians scored three more, this time the big hit coming from left fielder Alexander Ovalles in the form of an RBI double to the left-center field gap. They tacked on another insurance run in the ninth for good measure.
Also, Sheldon High School graduate and Spokane Indians center fielder Kellen Strahm made his return to Eugene receiving a nice ovation from the PK Park crowd. He singled and scored in the third, and later knocked in a run and scored in the fourth.
The Emeralds offense struggled once again, with majority of the offense on the night came via the Javier error. Kelli walked twice and stole two bases, adding to his team-leading steals total that now sits at 15. Designated hitter Jake Washer also had some success at the plate, reaching twice via the free pass and tacking on a single in the fifth.
“I felt like I saw the ball well tonight,” Washer said. “Just need to build on that moving forward.”
Emeralds’ lefty Didier Vargas got the start and labored through three innings in which he allowed two runs, issued two walks and surrendered six hits. Monday’s outing raised his season ERA to 6.15. After Vargas’ three innings, southpaw Brandon Hughes came on for Eugene, but struggled mightily in his sole inning of work. Three runs on two hits and two walks resulted in him being tagged with the loss.
It was a bit of a different lineup from Eugene manager Lance Rymel Monday night. Regulars Chase Strumpf, Grayson Byrd and Edmond Americaan all got the day off, and the aforementioned Hill got his first start of the season in the three-hole.
The season-long seven-game homestand will continue tomorrow night as the Northwest League North leading Indians will look to extend the Emeralds’ losing streak to five. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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