Strong pitching leads Emeralds

Eugene, Ore: The Eugene Emeralds squared off against the Spokane Indians for game one of a five-game series Wednesday night at PK Park. The Emeralds pulled out the 7-3 victory over the Indians.

The Emeralds offense might have started off the game on a good note, but it was starting pitcher Cody Hebner who locked up the victory. The offense exploded for two runs in the first and never trailed again. Hebner went five innings, gave up two hits and struck out six while walking zero. The young fourth round pick earned his second win of the season.

"Lights out, he believes he is real good. He thinks he is going to get them out and that is half the battle. He expects to do well and he was magnificent," Manager Pat Murphy said.

The key the last two nights has been the Emeralds pitching staff and their ability to pound the strike zone and limit the walks that they allow.

"Two walks, 11 strikeouts and last night I think it was one walk and 15 strikeouts," Murphy said. "A good pitching performance yesterday with a makeshift group. Big difference, you can't walk this team."

The usually stagnant Emerald's offense started off the game with a bang. Jace Peterson led off the bottom of the first with a walk. After back-to-back strikeouts, Emeralds struck back with back-to-back doubles by Duanel Jones and Justin Miller to put the game at 2-0.

The Emeralds started the following frame in similar fashion, as Zach Kometani led off the inning with a missile up the middle for a single. Kyle Gaedele followed up with a walk of his own. Then things got tricky. Jose Dore hit the farthest single possible, as he hit a towering fly ball off the right field wall, but everyone thought it was gone. Once it hit the wall, Gaedele had just got to second base and Dore was hung out to dry between first and second. Dore was tagged out trying to get back to first. The next two batters grounded out and the Emeralds weren't able to capitalize.

The Emeralds would find a way to strike again in the bottom of the fourth. Gaedele and Dore hit back-to-back singles, and with two outs, Peterson laced a ball through the right side to score Gaedele from second.

Miscues for the Indians gave the Emeralds more runs. Casey McElroy led off with a walk and Jones reached base after the shortstop's throw sailed into the home dugout. A wild pitch allowed McElroy to score and pushed Jones to third. Kometani lined out to right field and Jones was thrown out at home to end the inning.

The Indians threatened in the top of the sixth after reliever Warren Slack came into the game. The Indians started off the inning with back-to-back doubles. The next batters walked and singled and the lead was cut to two. With two outs, reliever Daniel Cropper was able to get the strike out to end the inning.

Emeralds would seem to put the game out of reach for the Indians in the bottom of sixth. Reliever David Perez came into the ball game for the Indians and gave up three runs. He walked one, hit one, and give up a three-run home run to Peterson.

"I am just getting good pitches to hit and I am putting good swing on them. Hopefully we can keep it going," Peterson said.

The Indians would score one more run, but were unable to complete the full come back as they fell 7-3. The Emeralds move to 15-13 in the second half and 39-27 overall.

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