Robert Emery Scores on Miscue in 10th, Eugene Emeralds Escape Hops With Gift, 4-3
Robert Emery stepped onto second base at the bottom of the tenth inning. Just like the rules say. Since 2019, all extra innings start with the last batter from the previous inning on second base. The rule change is supposed to cut down on all of those extra innings. But, not like this. The inning started and ended with a bunt. The Eugene Emeralds escaped with a 4-3 win over the Hillsboro Hops with a walk off bunt from the first batter of the inning.
Robert Emery Prepared for Anything
Sometimes, to earn the win, you must be prepared for anything. And that is exactly how Robert Emery scored from second base on a bunt. If done right, the bunt will move the runner from second to third with only one sacrificed out on the books. That is exactly how Ismael Munguia executed the bunt. The gift came from Hops pitcher Mailon Arroyo when he fielded the easy grounder.
Mailon came to the mound in the previous inning, the ninth, with the lead 3-1. One of the Hops’ best closers, Mailon threw 20 pitches with 16 of them strikes. The problem tonight was Carter Aldrete’s home run with Tyler Fitzgerald on base. One swing tied the game and sent it into extra innings.
Robert Emery Heads to Third
Now, in the bottom of the tenth, Mailon used his control to give his team a chance for the next inning. His next step was to field the soft bunt and throw Munguia out at first, letting Emery move over to third base. That was where the problem laid.
In 60 years of watching baseball, I have seen that the hardest throw for the pitcher to make is not a curveball. Nor is it a fastball dotting the corners of the plate. Or a sinker. It is the throw to first base. This has always been true. Even during the days of Juan Marichal (1960-75), Tom Seaver (1967-86), Orel Hershiser (1983-2000), Roger Clemens (1984-2007), Pedro Martinez (1992-2009) or Clayton Kershaw (2008-present).
Robert Emery Scores off Walk-Off Bunt
The throw to first sailed past first baseman Axel Andueza. Robert Emery, easily heading towards third, saw a chance and rounded the bag and headed home for the win. Game over.
Two Quality Starts
A game that enters extra innings usually means both starting pitchers end up with a no decision. That doesn’t mean they didn’t give fine efforts. When both starters left the game, the score was tied 1-1. The Ems’ Nick Avila threw 100 pitches, faced 25 batters and only allowed one run to score. The Hops’ Slade Cecconi threw 96 pitches faced 27 batters and also only allowed one run. The game winner was decided in the later innings. The Hops’ Nick Snyder also added a premium inning when he struck out the side for his only inning.
Taylor Rashi Steps In For Win
Also, some credit goes to the game winner, Taylor Rashi (W, 5-2) who closed the Hops out of their final inning with 14 pitches.
Hillsboro scored the game’s first run in the second inning when Blaze Alexander singled and scored on Leodany Perez’ RBI single. Eugene was right behind in the next inning with Brett Auerbach sending a solo blast over the fence for the second night in a row to tie the game.
Then, the pitching took over and smothered any thought of scoring again. Until the last scheduled inning of the game. The Hops went first. In the top of the ninth, Roman Ruiz led off with a double and scored on Dom Canzone’s RBI single. Dom later scored off of Andy Yerzy’s RBI double. When the Ems came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, they faced a 3-1 deficit and only three outs to catch up.
No Problem. The Ems went to work with Tyler Fitzgerald’s lead off single. Two strikeouts later, Carter Aldrete launched a two-run homer out of the park. Game tied. Now, on to extra innings where a walk off bunt ended the game.
The win helped the Eugene Emeralds (40-28) keep pace with Everett who also won tonight. They did, however, gain a game on the team behind them, Vancouver, and now sit eight and a half games above them. The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (29-38) to 16 games below Everett. The team below them, Tri City, also gained a game on the Hops and are now only two and a half games behind.
Eugene now leads the series 2-1. Both teams meet again Friday night for game#4. You can watch the game on MiLB.tv or listen in on 620 AM radio. In the meantime, read about my Look Back at Week 11 – History in the Making, with the Hops