The Eugene Emeralds offense couldn’t find the big hit Tuesday night as they kicked off the season’s second half with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Boise Hawks.
Five Boise pitchers, including starter Luke Chevalier and winning pitcher Fineas Del Bonta-Smith, combined to scatter seven Eugene hits over nine scoreless innings. Three runs of offense proved to be plenty as the Hawks pulled even with the Ems in the Northwest League standings at 16-23.
The first run of the ballgame was pushed across on an Ezequiel Tovar sacrifice fly in the third, scoring leadoff man Bladimir Restituyo. Restituyo previously doubled and stole third to set up the Tovar RBI flyout.
In the fifth, it was Restituyo, again, in the mix for Boise. He dropped a ball into right center that, with some help from Ems’ center fielder Zac Taylor and right fielder Jacob Olson, dribbled all the way to the right-center-field wall and allowed him to leg out an inside-the-park home run.
“Just a miscommunication,” Taylor said.
Offensively for Eugene, the conclusion of Tuesday night’s contest extended the scoreless drought to 25 innings and counting. In what has shaped up to be a fairly disappointing season, so far, for the defending league champions, the offense once again found itself unable to pick up a pitching staff that has been solid as of late. Earlier in the season, it was the hot-swinging offense that was tasked with, often unsuccessfully, out-slugging the opposing nine. Both sides have shown that they can have sustained success, but it just hasn’t come together consistently in 2019.
Designated hitter Nelson Maldonado represented one of the lone bright spots in a bleak offensive night for the Emeralds, picking up two more hits to bolster what has quietly been a very impressive season for the 2019 draftee out of the University of Florida. With the two hits Tuesday, he is now carrying a gaudy .444 batting average and 1.071 OPS to go along with nine RBIs in just 12 games.
Eugene starting pitcher Kohl Franklin threw the ball well once again, allowing just a lone run across four innings of work. Despite the loss, Tuesday was the seventh consecutive start for Franklin in which he allowed one earned run or less.
Blake Whitney kept the Emeralds in the game across the middle innings, throwing four frames and allowing two runs, including the inside-the-park home run that was more suspect defense than it was stellar offense.
The Ems and Hawks will be back at it, again, Wednesday night as 2019 first-round draft choice Ryan Jensen will get the ball for Eugene. Boise manager Steve Soliz has yet to announce a starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.