Emeralds struggles continue

Eugene, OR: Hitting struggles and shaky starting pitching plagued the Emeralds as they lost 5-0 against the Everett AquaSox Tuesday night. A controversial call did not help.

The AquaSox are a strong team and are surging in the second half. They are 14-7 in the second half of the season and have now won four in a row.

Emeralds starting pitcher Colin Rea was tagged for the loss, giving up five hits and five runs in three innings. All five runs came in the third. Rea came into the game with a 0.88 ERA, but it jumped to 1.84 after tonight's start.

Rea struggled from the beginning, hitting two batters in the first inning. He walked one, but got Jharmidy DeJesus out at home on Ramon Morla's single. Rea hit two more batters in the third.

The AquaSox scored all five runs in the third, four coming on a controversial call and all runs scoring with two outs. Jabari Blash was the first batter to reach base after being hit by a pitch. Morla followed with a walk. Jetsy Extrano then hit an RBI single, and Ethan Paquette then got hit by a pitch.

The controversial call came on Larry Gonzalez's hit down the left field line. The hit was called fair, and left fielder Jose Dore was unable to get to it in a timely manner. Gonzalez wound up with an inside the park grand slam, effectively blowing the game open.

"That was unfortunate. Dore was a little out of position and then made a long run and was there to catch it but didn't end up catching it. He usually catches that ball," manager Pat Murphy said. "That's a four-run turnaround. With two outs. Unusual but it happens. Overall a confusing call. The umpires are like they players, they're trying to develop."

The Emeralds were unable to respond offensively. They amassed six hits, but only one extra base hit with Justin Miller's double.

The Emeralds had their first chance when they loaded the bases in the fifth. Matt Colantonio led off with a single, and newcomer Daunel Jones followed with a single. Zach Kometani grounded out and Jose Dore struck out. Kyle Gaedele was then walked to load the bases. Jace Peterson hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

They loaded the bases again in the eighth, led off by another new recruit, Casey McElroy, who walked. Donovan Tate was then hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Jones hit another single to once again load the bases. The Emeralds were unable to capitalize on this chance, as Kometani struck out for the third out.

"Now the brass is in town, these guys tighten up a little bit, I don't know. They gotta learn to play with people watching them. So that's the way it goes," Murphy said. "We'll keep battling, keep trying to get better. Again credit goes to their pitcher. He did a nice job, whenever we had him on the ropes we couldn't get a big hit."

AquaSox manager Scott Steinmann was ejected in the fifth for arguing about Jabari Blash's ground rule double.

The series between the Emeralds and the AquaSox is now tied at four games a piece for the season.

In a series marred by controversial calls and manager ejections, Justin Miller is still optimistic about tomorrow night's game.

"You just gotta come back out and forget about tonight, forget about the last two nights, and turn the offense right back on."

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