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Ems Pounce on Wild Pitches, Passed Balls to Defeat Salem-Keizer

July 12, 2019 - Northwest League (NWL) - Eugene Emeralds News Release

Jake Slaughter drove in two runs at the plate and Eduarniel Nunez was solid on the mound as the Eugene Emeralds (11-16) bounced back from a walk-off loss the night prior to hand the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (18-9) a 5-4 loss on Thursday night in Keizer, Oregon.

After seeing a late lead slip away against the Volcanoes just 24 hours prior, the Ems hit the field Thursday looking to snap a three-game skid and simultaneously earn their first win of the season against Salem-Keizer.

Neither offense was able to break through in the game's first three innings, but Jake Slaughter got the scoring started in the fourth. With Chase Strumpf on second and Zac Taylor on first after back-to-back singles to start the inning, Slaughter brought both runners home with a double to deep center field, Slaughter's fourth two-bagger of the season, to put the Ems in front, 4-0.

In the sixth, Slaughter was at the plate once again when the Ems would add to their lead. With two outs and Grayson Byrd on second after a two-out single and a balk from Volcanoes reliever Abel Adames, Slaughter struck out on a 2-2 pitch from Adames, but a passed ball from catcher Ricardo Genoves on the play allowed Slaughter to reach base while even providing enough time for Byrd to scamper all the way around from second to score. When the dust settled from a wild, would-be inning-ending play, Slaughter stood on second and the Ems led, 3-0.

One batter later, Luis Vazquez singled on a soft liner to right field that allowed Slaughter to score from second, making it a 4-0 in favor of the Emeralds.

After benefitting from a passed ball in the sixth, Eugene was the benefactor of a two wild pitches in the seventh. With Edmond Americaan on second thanks to a one-out single and a balk from Volcanoes reliever Yoel Veras, Strumpf strolled to the plate with two outs aiming to extend the Emeralds' lead once more. The UCLA product never needed to lift the bat off his shoulder to do so, though, as back-to-back wild pitches from Veras allowed Americaan to advance to third and then score to make it a 5-0 game.

The Volcanoes offense wouldn't go all night without beind heard from, though. In the bottom of the seventh, Salem-Keizer got on the board thanks to Northwest League RBI-leader Franklin Labour who delivered a one-out single to left field that scored a pair of runs, cutting Eugene's lead to 5-2.

Salem-Keizer added another in the eighth after a leadoff single from Tyler Fitzgerald was followed by a triple from Armani Smith, scoring Fitzgerald and putting the Volcanoes within two.

In the ninth, Salem-Keizer's comeback effort continued, but it would ultimately come up just short. With Riley McCauley coming out of the bullpen aiming to pick up his NWL-leading fourth save of the season, Ricardo Genoves delivered a one-out single to bring the tying run to the plate. Kwan Adkins was then quickly inserted as the pinch runner for Genoves, and the move immediately paid paid off as Adkins advanced to second during the ensuing at-bat after a Riley McCauley throwing error on a pickoff attempt.

After McCauley struck out Alexander Canario for the second out of the inning, Tyler Fitzgerald delivered a double to left field, scoring Adkins to make it 5-4 while putting the tying run in scoring position. Salem-Keizer got no closer, though, as McCauley bounced back to strike out Armani Smith, wrapping the game and giving the Ems their first win over the Volcanoes this season.

Five Emeralds finished with multi-hit games on the evening: Edmond Americaan, Yonathan Perlaza, Zac Taylor, Jake Slaughter, and Luis Vazquez. Taylor has now tallied a hit in 14 of 15 games to start his professional career and currently boasts a 12-game hit streak dating back to his time in the AZL.

Starting pitcher Eduarniel Nunez put forth perhaps his best performance of the season thus far, striking out a season-high six batters while allowing no runs, three hits and one walk over 4.0 innings of work.

Eugene now looks to make it two-in-a-row over the Volcanoes as the two face off again on Friday evening at 6:35pm PST. 2019 first round selection Ryan Jensen is scheduled to make his professional debut for the Emeralds and is expected to pitch only one inning. You can listen live via 95.3FM The Score or on the TuneIn app.

Tickets to Emeralds home games are on sale now at or by calling (541) 342-5367.

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