Eugene Punches Ticket to Postseason
PASCO, WA - The Eugene Emeralds (66-49) are headed to the High-A West Championship Series after blanking the Tri-City Dust Devils (42-65) by a final of 6-0 on Wednesday night at Gesa Stadium.
Winning Pitcher: Blake Rivera (1-2, 8.18 ERA): 2.0 IP | 1 H | 0 R | 1 BB | 3 K
Losing Pitcher: Mason Erla (0-1, 3.86 ERA): 2.1 IP | 2 H | 2 R | 1 ER | 0 BB | 2 K
HR(s): Eugene: Pomares (6), Auerbach (15) | Tri-City: N/A
HOW IT HAPPENED: Simply put, Wednesday night saw one of this season's most impressive top-to-bottom performances from the Emeralds, and they saved it for a playoff clincher.
Entering the night with a magic number of one, Eugene needed just one win over the regular season's final five games to clinch a berth in the High-A West Championship Series.
Despite all of that cushion, Eugene opted not to put off the party for later in the week. The Ems took the game's first lead in the second thanks to, fittingly enough, a gift to Eugene's birthday boy Tyler Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald, celebrating his twenty-fourth birthday on Wednesday, stepped to the plate with two outs and Marco Luciano on second after the Emeralds shortstop had doubled in the previous at-bat. Fitzgerald skied a would-be inning-ending pop fly to the left side of the infield, but the swirling Eastern Washington wind caused chaos for Tri-City shortstop Kyren Paris who was unable to glove the pop fly as the ball fell to the Gesa Stadium infield dirt to allow Luciano to score from second and put Eugene ahead, 1-0.
The Ems made it 2-0 an inning later when Brett Auerbach singled home Ismael Munguia, and it became 3-0 in the fourth when Ricardo Genovés skied a sac fly to left field that proved well deep enough to score Marco Luciano from third.
In the sixth, Eugene went from small ball to long ball as Jairo Pomares launched his sixth homer as an Emerald, a solo blast to the right of the batter's eye in center field that made it 4-0, and another big blast one inning later made it 6-0 when Brett Auerbach teed off on a two-run homer to left, his fifteenth homer as an Emerald.
Meanwhile, the Emeralds pitching staff put forth perhaps its most flat-out dominant performance of the season to-date. Six Ems pitchers - Seth Corry, Travis Perry, Blake Rivera, Conner Nurse, Austin Reich and Chris Wright - combined to strikeout eighteen Dust Devil batters while allowing just five hits, four of which were singles.
With the Spokane Indians also winning on Wednesday night, a 6-3 victory over the Everett AquaSox, the High-A West Championship Series is officially now set as the Ems and Indians will face off in a best-of-five series to decide the High-A West champion. The series scheduled to start on Tuesday, September 21 at Avista Stadium in Spokane, Washington.
Pitching Staff: This bears repeating: six Ems pitchers - Seth Corry, Travis Perry, Blake Rivera, Conner Nurse, Austin Reich and Chris Wright - combined to strikeout eighteen Dust Devil batters while allowing just five hits, four of which were singles.
Ismael Munguia - CF: It's been an unreal stretch for Eugene's primary center fielder, and that continued on Wednesday night. Munguia finished with a game-high three hits, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored in what was his eighteenth multi-hit performance in his last twenty-one games played.
Brett Auerbach - 2B: Eugene's do-it-all utility man finished with a game-high three RBIs in a 2-for-5 night that included a homer.
WHAT'S NEXT: The series between the Emeralds and Dust Devils continues on Thursday at 7:05pm PST at Gesa Stadium.
You can catch all the action in Pasco with road broadcaster Alex Stimson on the call via 95.3FM The Score, MiLB.com or on the MiLB app.
Tickets to Emeralds home games are available at www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or by calling (541) 342-5367.
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Northwest League Stories from September 16, 2021
- Breaking Down Why the Ems Won'T Host Postseason Action - Eugene Emeralds
- Eugene Punches Ticket to Postseason - Eugene Emeralds
- Late Rally Falls Short in C's Loss - Vancouver Canadians
- Vernia Stifles C's, Hops Hang On - Hillsboro Hops
- 'Sox Drop Second in a Row, 6-3 - Everett AquaSox
- Dust Devils Fall Short in Series Opener - Tri-City Dust Devils
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