After taking down the mighty Everett AquaSox in Eugene last week and moving into a tie for first place, the Eugene Emeralds likely figured that their upcoming series against the last place Tri-City Dust Devils would be a piece of cake.
It hasn’t been a piece of cake in the slightest thus far, as the Emeralds lost their third straight game to open the series on Thursday. They fell 10-2 at Gesa Stadium in a game that never even felt close. The Emeralds are now in danger of losing their first series of the season to a team not named the AquaSox.
Blake Rivera made his High-A debut on the mound for the Emeralds — after being promoted from Rookie ball.
He gave up a single to the first batter he faced. The runner then stole two bases and scored on an error by third baseman Carter Aldrete. Another stolen base and a wild pitch put a second run on the board for Tri-City in the first inning.
Rivera started the second inning strong by retiring the first two batters. But the Dust Devils ignited a two-out rally against him, as a single, a walk and another single extended the Tri-City lead to 3-0.
After Rivera pitched two innings, Ryan Walker gave up a walk and a run-scoring double in the third.
In the fourth, Nick Morreale came in for his first appearance with the Emeralds since May 20. It didn’t go well; he walked the first two batters and gave up a two-run single. He settled down after that, but the Emeralds still trailed 6-0.
Morreale walked another batter and gave up a run-scoring double in the fifth, ending his outing after 1 2/3 innings.
The Emeralds finally got on the board in the top of the seventh. The red hot Sean Roby singled, and Jairo Pomares hit an RBI double to continue his hot start at the High-A level. Another run came home on a Marco Luciano groundout, making it a 7-2 game.
In the bottom of the seventh, the two former Oregon Ducks on the Dust Devils rubbed salt in the Emeralds’ wound. Kenyon Yovan led off the inning with a double, Kyle Kasser followed with a single and the third straight Tri-City hit brought in a run against John Russell.
Yovan wasn’t done there, hitting an RBI single in the eighth off of Tyler Schimpf. Things got ugly after that, as Schimpf walked in a run to make it 10-2.
The Emeralds went down without much of a fight. They’ve struggled offensively in all three games and now trail the series 3-0. The good news for Eugene is that the AquaSox have lost two of their three games this week, so the Emeralds have only lost one game in the standings.
They’ll look to avoid their fourth straight loss on Friday at 7:05 p.m.