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Emeralds Hold Off Volcanoes, 8-6Salem-News.com Sports
Coming off of three impressive outings, Drew Leenhouts struggled from the get-go.
(KEIZER, Ore. ) - Through six innings at Volcanoes Stadium, the Eugene Emeralds had a comfortable eight-run lead largely in part to two early home runs.
However, Salem-Keizer's offense arrived in the seventh inning and gave the Em's a run for their money in front of a crowd of 2,192 on Wednesday evening.
Coming off of three impressive outings, Drew Leenhouts struggled from the get-go, surrendering a solo home run to Em's leadoff man Trea Turner on the fourth pitch of the game. Leenhouts gave up two more hits in the first, but he settled down just in time to strike out the final two batters and get out of the inning relatively unscathed.
Eugene starter Adrian De Horta did not have his best stuff going for him either, walking a pair of batters in the first inning. Although De Horta struggled to find the zone, his battery mate, catcher Jose Ruiz, gunned two runners off of the base paths.
After a quiet second inning, Eugene went back to work in the third with the first two runners reaching base. Then Marcus Davis, the Emerald's leading slugger, rocketed a ball over the right field fence, scoring three more runs for Eugene.
In just three innings, the Em's had handed the Volcanoes' pitching staff its first game with multiple home runs allowed.
Drew Leenhouts was replaced after finishing just three innings and allowing seven hits, three earned runs, and two homers.
Leading 4-0, Eugene was not done yet, adding a run in the fourth and three more in the sixth off of Salem-Keizer relief pitching. Rod Boykin led off the fourth inning with a triple, eventually coming around to score on a fielder's choice. The sixth inning was plagued by miscues for Salem-Keizer, including three wild pitches and an error to assist Eugene in expanding their advantage to 8-0.
But the Volcanoes would not go down without a fight, a charge which was led by some unsuspecting figures. Jonathan Jones, Leonardo Fuentes, and Fernando Pujadas each notched base hits to begin the seventh. Salem-Keizer's first run came into score after Pujadas' single was mishandled by Boykin in center field.
Tyler Hollick and Skyler Ewing both knocked in runs on base hits later in the seventh, slashing Eugene's lead in half and bringing the game within reach at 8-4.
In the eighth inning, Jones and Fuentes both reached base safely once again before Eugene experienced a defensive breakdown, committing three errors in a span of two at bats. The Emerald's mishaps resulted in two more runs for the Volcanoes, shrinking the deficit to just two runs as the game moved to the ninth.
Needing two runs to tie the game in the home-half of the ninth, the Volcanoes got the tying run aboard due to a drawn walk and the Emerald's sixth error of the evening. But Eugene closer Bryan Verbitsky was able to coax Jones into a game-ending strike out, halting the Volcanoes' comeback bid just two runs short.
After being out-hit 10-2 at one point in the game, the Volcanoes late offensive surge vaulted their hit total to 11, just one shy of Eugene's final hit total of 12. Fuentes and Pujadas - the last of Salem-Keizer's lineup - each tallied two hits to highlight the offensive numbers.
Travis Radke of Eugene was credited with the win after relieving De Horta early in the game. On the losing side was Leenhouts, who fell to 1-2 on the season.
Up Next: Salem-Keizer and Eugene will meet up in the rubber match of the three-game series, both teams desperately trying to avoid falling in to fourth place in the division. Jose Reyes (1-3, 3.82) will get the nod for the Volcanoes, going up against Emerald's starter Griffin Russell (0-2, 4.91).
Source: Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
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