Sogard's grand evening powers Eugene to win

Eugene, OR-- There was little doubt about Eric Sogard's grand slam. In fact, there was so little doubt the right fielder hardly moved as the towering blast nestled in the trees far beyond the right-centerfield wall of Civic Stadium. Sogard's moon shot paved the way to another Emeralds victory, as they defeated the Tri City Dust Devil 8-5 Thursday night.

"He fell behind and I was sitting on a fastball," said Eric Sogard of his second homer in as many nights. "It was middle-in, waist high and just a beautiful pitch to hit."

The Emeralds survived multiple rallies by the Dust Devils the scariest of which was in the eighth. Leading by two runs Eugene reliever Robert Woodard allowed one run, but collected himself to strand the tying runner at third. Colt Hynes retired the side in the ninth to pick up the save.

Not wanting to get into the same situation in the ninth, the Ems added two insurance runs. Luis Durango's third hit of the game brought home Andy Parrino for the eighth and final run the Ems would score

Tri-City starter Robinson Fabian was effective early, but the Ems got to him in the third. Fabian walked the first two batters of the inning and Luis Durango's bloop single loaded the bases for Sogard who delivered the big hit of the night.

Eugene starter Rey Garramone mixed his pitches well and was efficient in his 4.2 innings of work. He also showed good athleticism making an stellar play on a bunt to get the lead runner at second when the Dust Devils were threatening in the third. Garramone allowed no earned runs while scattering five hits.

As usual, the bullpen was solid for the Emeralds. Matt Huff, Jeremy McBryde, Woodard and Colt Hynes combined to pitch 5.1 innings of relief while giving up only one run.

The Emeralds managed another run in the fourth, this one coming with two outs. Parrino stretched a single into a double and then Luis Durango knocked him in with a triple over the head of the centerfielder. For a minute it looked as though he might try for the inside-the-park home run, but manager Greg Riddoch held him at third with the hot hitting Sogard due up next. Sogard scorched the ball, but right at the second baseman.

The Dust Devils tallied three runs in their half of fifth, but not by necessarily hitting the ball hard. The leadoff batter reached on an error by centerfielder Danny Payne. With two outs and a runner on third the inning seemed harmless enough, but a walk and a blooper by Everth Cabrera plated Tri-City's first run. With two runners on, Garramone induced what should have been the inning ending groundball, but it was booted by shortstop Andy Parrino and ricocheted into leftfield. Two runs came across making the score 5-3 Ems.

Spokane, WA native Darin Holcomb's RBI single in the seventh drew the Dust Devils within a run, but the Ems got it back in their half of the frame. Payne sat back and laced a fastball on the outer half over the third baseman's head to score Justin Baum.

The Dust Devils again got within one an inning later. Woodard allowed a leadoff double but then recorded a strikeout and a pop outbefore the pesky Cabrera fought off an inside fastball and blooped one into right. He advanced to third on Durango's errant throw home. Fortunately for the Ems, Woodard was able to induce a meager pop fly to center to get out of the inning.

As the schedule reaches the halfway point, the Ems face a crucial stretch in the week ahead. Their next six games are all against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes who they trail by six games. The first three are at the friendly confines of Civic Stadium followed by a rare off day and then up I-5 to Salem for three more. The six games against the Volcanoes will tell if this is going to be a race to the end or if the Volcanoes can put it on cruise control.


- The Ems' defense was sloppy but it did feature a few nice plays. Justin Baum made a spectacular diving stop and throw at third to save a run. Garramone picked off the speedy Cabrera and the Ems executed a textbook relay Durango-to-Parrino-to McQueary to prevent a run in the first.

- Durango (3, again!), Sogard (2), Parrino (2) had multi-hit games for the Ems. Both Durango and Sogard are tearing the cover off the ball. Even when they make outs, they are hitting the ball hard.

- Riddoch held a closed door team meeting after the game. Sogard intimated that the sloppy defensive play and pitches left out over the plate with two strikes were the reason for the meeting.

- Local sponsors in Eugene give away money for hitting homeruns over their signage in the outfield. Sogard got one hundred dollars last night and his grand slam over the Sundance Lumber sign netted him two hundred dollars tonight. "I may be buying the guys drinks," joked Sogard after the game.

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