Emerald's bats come alive, streak ends

EUGENE- The Eugene Emeralds entered Monday's game losers in each of their last five. In those five games, the Emeralds mustered a measly 33 hits – 6.6 hits per game average – including a streak of 14 straight innings without a run.

All of those streaks ended in impressive fashion Monday as the Emeralds pounded out 18 hits in a 10-7 victory against the Vancouver Canadians (Athletics) at home.

Each Eugene batter recorded a hit, led by Luke Cannon who went 3-for-4, including a go-ahead three-run homerun in the sixth. Abraham Aguilar was also 3-for-4.

"It was nice to see," a relaxed and smiling Dascenzo said. "I guess the guys were saving them (the hits) up over the past week and a half. But, it was nice to see, and hopefully that will flow into tomorrow and next week."

The Emeralds wasted no time drawing blood as the first five batters reached base against Canadians' pitcher Chad Lee. Brian Lauderdale led off with a single, and Mike Epping followed with a double down the leftfield line. Lauderdale scored on a passed ball and Kody Valverde walked on four pitches before cleanup hitter Chad Huffman recorded his team-leading 19th RBI with a single on a blooper into centerfield that allowed Epping to score from second. Cannon hit the ball into leftfield for a single to load the bases for Willy Crafort, who reached on a fielder's choice at second but recorded an RBI, as Valverde was able to score from third. With two outs, Aguilar singled into leftfield to score Huffman, making the score 4-0.

But Vancouver answered.

After coasting for two innings, Eugene starter Stephen Faris ran into some trouble in the top of the third. Faris threw six straight balls, walking Wilber Perez and getting behind the Canadians ninth hitter, Andre Piper-Jordan, which prompted a visit from hitting coach Wally Whitehurst. Two pitches later, Piper-Jordan cut the Emeralds' lead in half with a two-run, no-doubter over the left-field fence for his first homerun of the season. Piper-Jordan finished an impressive day by hitting 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and two runs scored. The Canadians tacked on another run in the third when Matt Sulentic took a Faris pitch into right-centerfield for a triple, which scored Larry Cobb from first. Sulentic later scored on a single by Jacob Smith to tie the game at 4-4.

"He did struggle a little bit, but he kept pitching behind in the count," Dascenzo said of Faris, who worked 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. He did not factor into the decision. "I don't care who you are. When it's 1-0, and 2-0, 3-1, pretty soon someone is going to him some balls hard off of you, and he understands that. We just got to do a better job of getting strike one."

The Emeralds broke the tie in the third thanks to an overthrow at first base on a pickoff attempt. Lee attempted to catch Cannon leaning at first base and threw it high and wide of first baseman Greg Dowling. Cannon reached third base on the error and later scored to make the score 5-4 when Casey Smith recorded an RBI on a chopper to third that was mishandled.

The Emeralds returned the favor to the Canadians in the top of the fourth inning with some sloppy defense of their own. Alex Valdez led off the inning with a single and scored when Piper-Jordan blooped a 2-2 pitch from Ben Krosschell into right-centerfield. Epping made a dive but was unable to come up with the ball. Valdez scored on the hit and Piper-Jordan reached third. Krosschell then hit Cobb, and with Piper-Jordan on third, Kobb headed for second to steal during the next at bat. Valverde faked the throw down to second and Piper-Jordan started for home but headed back to third. Valverde attempted the throw to third, but it sailed over the head of Aguilar, allowing Piper-Jordan to score and put Vancouver ahead 6-5.

Krosschell lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing one unearned run on one hit. He also hit a batter.

Jackson Quezada took the mound in the fifthand picked up the win by pitching three innings, giving up one hit and no runs and striking out two.

"He did a fine job," Dascenzo said of Quezada. "It was nice to see."

Trailing by one run, the Emeralds climbed their way back into the game and took the lead with a four-run sixth inning. The ninth hitter, Jesus Lopez, led off with a double after Cobb misplayed the ball in centerfield. With two outs, Valverde tied the game with an RBI double down the leftfield line to score Lopez. Vancouver's Earl Oakes, who picked up the loss, plunked Huffman during the next at bat to put two on for Cannon, who put the Emeralds on top 9-6 with a towering three-run homerun over the right-centerfield fence.

"He left a changeup up," Cannon said of the homerun. "He struck me out with a changeup before so I had a feeling he was probably bringing that."

With the homerun and three RBI performance, Cannon has now hit .400 with two homeruns, seven RBIs and has scored five runs in the last five games.

"He's been putting in an awful lot of work with Matt (Howe), and it's starting to pay off for him," Dascenzo said. "We're very happy that he's starting to get the results. Whatever area that needs work, when you work on it, it's going to pay off in one way or another. It's nice to see it paying off for Luke right now."

Cannon also credited his extra work with Howe, along with Tom Gamboa, who is currently in Eugene working with players.

"I started off pretty slow, so I've been working extra with our hitting coach, Matt Howe, and Gamboa came in and worked with me a little before the game just really letting the ball travel instead of chasing pitches out front," Cannon said.

Eugene added an insurance run in the eighth off of a triple by Willy Crafort after Vancouver scored in its half of the eighth. Justin Mattison recorded his fifth save as he worked the ninth inning.

"We really needed a win," Cannon said. "We've had a stretch of bad luck. Maybe that will get things rolling like we need it to."

We'll found that out tomorrow as the Everett Aquasox (Mariners) come to town to begin a three-game series.


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