Emeralds battle but fall short

Eugene, OR-- The Vancouver Canadians jumped all over the Eugene Emeralds Sunday afternoon and held on to win the second game of the three game set, 9-8. Danny Hamblin paced the Canadians with two home runs as the Canadians used their fast start to send the Ems home losers for the ninth consecutive day.

The Emeralds rallied all day but could never quite get over the hump. Robbie Blauer's solo homer in the eighth got the Ems to within one and the ninth inning started promisingly, as Brian Lauderdale and Lance Zawadzki both walked. Brad Chalk attempted to sacrifice them up one base apiece, but he was unable to get a bunt fair and he went down on strikes. The game ended two pitches later when Luis Durango laced a groundball right to the second baseman who tagged Zawadzki and threw to first to get Durango.

"We battled all day we hung in there at the plate and our hurlers came through late…we are just in such a tough stretch right now," Lauderdale said of another rough loss for the Ems.

Vancouver exploded out of the gate for seven runs in the first three innings. Hamblin blasted a three-run homer run in the first. The Canadians piled on four more in the third by loading the bases on three straight singles. Dante Love delivered a towering double off the wall to plate two. Hamblin scored on a wild pitch and Love came around on an RBI single by Justin Frash. To give Vancouver a 7-2 lead.

Leonardo Martinez picked up the win to improve to 4-4. He went two innings allowing two runs but neither was earned. The Canadians made it tough on their pitchers totaling five errors, four of them by second baseman Matthew Ray. Ray's four errors were a Northwest League record for most errors in a game by a second baseman.

The Ems battled from behind all game long. They scrapped across a run in the first and the second both on two-out RBI singles. Kellen Kulbacki delivered a long single to score Luis Durango in the first and Chalk had the timely hit in the second to score Lauderdale.

Kulbacki continued to hit the ball hard especially to right field. He hit his third homer in as many nights, a three-run blast in the third. Kulbacki's long ball moved the Ems within two at 7-5.

Vancouver second baseman Matt Ray's third error got the Ems within only one run after four innings. Chalk and Durango reached, but a strikeout and a fly out followed and the Eugene rally was losing life. Kulbacki hit it hard but right at the second baseman who booted the ball and the speedy Chalk jetted home all the way from second.

Hamblin's second homer extended the suddenly tenuous Vancouver lead to two runs. Hamblin hit a towering fly ball that just kept carrying and carrying as the wind blew it over the wall in right. He finished the game 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs.

Eugene starting pitcher Jeremy McBryde was hit hard early and often. He allowed ten hits and seven earned runs in four innings. McBryde's ERA swelled to 4.64 almost jumping an entire run in one afternoon and his record dropped to 1-4.

"It is in the back of everyone's head," said Lauderdale of the losing streak. "We just need a win, losing these one-run games really hurts."

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