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Eugene Emeralds Playoff Wrap: Emeralds take game 1, 3-2

The “Bad News Ems” have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

Levi Jordan
Eugene Emeralds

First of all, congratulations to Eugene Emeralds pitcher Faustino Carrera, who won the vote as the BCB Pitcher of the Year! I haven’t had an article to post the outcome since Thursday, so a belated congratulations to Carrera.

The Emeralds have nicknamed themselves “The Bad News Ems” as they continue their quest to win the Northwest League title despite the worst-overall record in the league.

Eugene Emeralds

The Eugene Emeralds beat the Spokane Indians (Rangers), 3-2 to take a one game to none lead in the best-of-five series.

Ems starter Riley Thompson kept the Indians off the board over the first three innings, but he gave up two solo home runs in the fifth inning as the Emeralds fell behind 2-0. Thompson was pulled after two runners reached with one out in the fifth on a dropped third strike and a single. Thompson was relieved by Derek Casey, who finished out the fifth and then pitched a perfect sixth inning.

The final line on Thompson was two runs on five hits over 4.1 innings. Thompson struck out six and did not walk anyone.

The Ems tied the game with a two-out, two-run rally in the top of the fifth inning. (Despite the game being in Eugene, the Indians were the designated home team.) After Fernando Kelli doubled with one out, he went to third on a ground out. With two outs, the Ems put together three straight singles to score twice.

First, Luis Vazquez hit an infield single to score Kelli. Then Andy Weber singled to move Vazquez to third and a single by Nelson Velazquez tied up the game.

The score stayed that way until the top of the eighth when Levi Jordan homered to left field. Jordan, this season’s 29th-round pick, had only one home run in the regular season.

Ivan Medina got a two-inning save. There was big drama in the bottom of the ninth. After a one-out single by Tanner Gardner, Spokane’s Starling Joseph hit a pop up into the third base dugout that Ems third baseman Weber caught, but dropped the ball on the exchange. Spokane manager Kenny Holberg was ejected arguing the call, but replays looked like the call was correct. But because the ball went into the dugout after Weber dropped it, Gardner was awarded third base. But with a runner on third and two outs, Medina got a grounder to the shortstop Vazquez to end the game.

The winning pitcher was Cam Sanders, who pitched one scoreless inning. He walked one batter but allowed no hits and no runs. Sanders had one strikeout.

Medina got the save with one hit over two innings. He struck out two and walked no one.

Jordan was 1 for 4 with the home run.

Velazquez was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Vazquez was 2 for 4 with one run scored and one RBI.

The win marked the first time all season that the Emeralds won three games in a row. Additionally, all three playoff games were by identical 3-2 scores.

Here are the two runs the Emeralds scored in the fifth inning.

And here’s the Jordan home run:

The two teams will play game 2 of the Northwest League Championship Series at 7:05 on Monday at PK Park in Eugene. The Ems will be the designated road team again for game 2, but will be the home team for any games after that.