Eugene falls seven games back

Eugene, OR-- The first five Salem-Keizer batters all got a hit and the Volcanoes never looked back after scoring four first inning runs. Salem-Keizer defeated Eugene 6-2 Sunday afternoon, as the Volcanoes banged out 13 hits, which enabled them to post their league leading 32nd win this season.

Matt Downs finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and the Salem-Keizer pitching was tremendous, as the Ems could not climb out of the hole they put themselves in early.

Back-to-back singles and a passed ball set the Volcanoes up in the first. Downs delivered a double to the gap in the right center to plate the first two Volcano runs. Chad Rothford followed suit with an RBI double of his own to make it 3-0. The Volcanoes added their final run on a ground out to short.

Eugene started on the comeback trail immediately. Luis Durango worked the count for a walk and the hot-hitting Justin Baum blasted a homerun to left. Baum has now homered in three consecutive games.

That would be the last time the Ems bats made any noise, however. They never seriously threatened to score after the first inning. The team garnered only six hits and when they did get men on, the crafty left-handed Salem-Keizer pitchers kept the aggressive Ems at bay. Danny Payne and Durango were both picked off first base by lefties Cranston and De La Garza, respectively.

Jeremy Hefner had a rough outing as the Ems starter. In 3.2 innings of work he gave up four runs and seven hits. Dustin Gibbs came in to get the final out of the fourth inning. He fielded a hard hit ball hit back at him to get out of the bases loaded jam he inherited.

Salem-Keizer padded their lead in the seventh. Downs picked up his third RBI of the day with another double, as Brock Bond came into score. Downs would later come around to make the score 6-2 Volcanoes. Those runs were charged to John Hussey and that was all the Salem-Keizer bullpen would need.

Jesse Cranston picked up the win to improve to 2-0. He scattered five hits over five innings of work and allowed two earned runs. Andy De La Garza and Tim Egart each pitched two innings of scoreless relief.

The Ems lost the home portion of this six game set. They trail the Volcanoes by seven games and will get a chance to cut into that lead when the series shifts north to Salem starting Tuesday.


- The eternal optimist would say the Ems did a good job pitching out of trouble because Eugene pitchers managed to strand 13 Salem-Keizer base runners. The pessimist would say that Ems pitching allowed far to many base runners in the first place.

- Luis Durango has been the designated hitter each of the last two games

- Tomorrow something very rare will happen in the landscape of sort-season single-A baseball. An off day. The Ems then hit the road for eight straight.

- Eugene had multiple errors in the game for the second night in a row and three of the last four. Manager Greg Riddoch held a closed door meeting after the loss because of their sloppy play.

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