The Eugene Emeralds won 7-1 in their series opener against the Vancouver Canadians on Tuesday at Ron Tonkin Field. After putting up a .189/.298/.303 line in their last two series, the offense got back in a groove. Will Wilson sat out after getting hit by a batted ball on Sunday, but Tyler Fitzgerald and Patrick Bailey stepped up to lead the hitters to a productive day.
The Emeralds came into the day in a three-way tie for first place in the High-A West with the Canadians and the Everett AquaSox. The AquaSox won as well, so Eugene’s win keeps the team tied for first with Everett.
The Emeralds’ offense came into the day struggling, but they got going in a hurry. Bailey and Logan Wyatt hit back-to-back doubles, bringing home the game’s first run in the first. It was a much-needed hit for Wyatt, who’s been mired in a deep slump. After Franklin Labour drew a walk, Fitzgerald slammed a three-run homer as Eugene put up a four-spot.
The Canadians scored a run of their own against Aaron Phillips in the bottom of the first, helped out by a costly fielding error by center fielder Javeyan Williams.
Fitzgerald struck again in the second, coming through with a two-out, two-run single to make it 6-1. He had five RBIs in the first two innings.
The Emeralds scratched out another run in the fourth, as Bailey hit his second double of the game and Labour brought him home with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-1. Bailey bounced back after striking out with the bases loaded twice on Sunday.
The Canadians put two in scoring position in the fifth, but Phillips got out of it as the Emeralds achieved a rarity — they turned a triple play. The center fielder Williams caught a fly out, then threw to the shortstop Fitzgerald for the second out, and Fitzgerald threw home for the third out of the play.
Phillips wound up pitching six innings, striking out five, walking none and allowing just four hits and an unearned run.
Bailey recorded his third double of the game, but was left stranded as the offense cooled off in the later innings. The damage was done though, as they secured the 7-1 victory. Bryce Tucker pitched the final three innings for Eugene, allowing just one hit while collecting a couple of strikeouts.
The Emeralds (16-9) will play Game 2 of their series against the Canadians (15-10) on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.