Eugene shuts out Spokane

The Eugene Emeralds continue their climb up the rankings and have won eight of their last ten games. Winners of four straight, they beat the Spokane Indians 1-0 on Friday night. A timely hit backed the strong pitching performance in a game that lasted under two hours in front of a sold-out crowd.

"I think they had somewhere to go tonight," manager Pat Murphy said. "Friday night, I think there's something going on in Eugene or something because an hour-fifty-something game is unusual."

The only run of the game came in the first inning. Justin Miller had a one out walk. He advanced to third on Casey McElroy's single to right field. Indians starting pitcher Chris Hanna then threw a wild pitch, allowing Miller to score from third.

"We luckily got a passed ball there, McElroy got me over to third, and took advantage of the passed ball, got a run in," Miller said. "And the pitchers shut them down the rest of the way."

Despite the shaky start, Hanna had a solid game for the Indians. He went seven innings allowing only the one run. He struck out seven and walked one.

"You've got to credit their pitching staff, too," Murphy said. "Their kid did a nice job and he was effective early, and any time a guy can give you seven innings — he pitched that well and he was good."

Emeralds starting pitcher Colin Rea outdueled him tonight, pitching three innings and allowing just one hit.

"I just got comfortable on the mound and focused on getting ahead on the first pitch, especially attack with the fastball, too," Rea said.

The only hit Rea allowed was a single to Yefry Castillo in the second. Rea then got Ruben Sierra to hit into a fielders choice and Zach Cone to fly out to the McElroy to end the inning.

The Emeralds benefited from solid relief pitching. Mark Pope, Daniel Cropper and Matt Stites combined to keep the Indians scoreless.

The Indians did not advance a runner past first, and only amassed four base runners.

Pope went three innings and allowed one hit. He struck out two and walked none. The only hit he allowed was Nick Vickerson's single in the fifth. Pope got the following batter Edwin Garcia to hit into an inning ending 5-4-3 double play to get out of trouble.

The Emeralds threatened to score again in the eighth when Alberth Martinez hit a lead off double, but were unable to bring him home when the next three batters struck out.

The Emeralds are now just half a game back from the Everett Aquasox. If the standings stay as they are, the Emeralds will face the AquaSox in the playoffs in September. But if the Emeralds win both the first half and the second half of the season, the team with the next best winning percentage for the entire season will get into the playoffs. This would mean the Emeralds would most likely face the Vancouver Canadians in the playoffs.

The Emeralds are not worried about who they will face, and continue to focus on the daily task at hand. They will face the Indians again for the fourth game of a five game series Saturday night at 7 pm.

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