EUGENE, Ore. — As a disappointing first-half of the 2011 Northwest League season drew to a close, the Aquasox took advantage of a chance to end on a high note with a 4-2 win over the division champion Eugene Emeralds at PK Park Monday night.
It was Everett’s (16-22) second consecutive victory over the Emeralds, who entered the game tied for the division lead with Vancouver (24-14). But the Whitecaps lost to Salem-Keizer Monday, giving the Ems the crown thanks to the league’s tiebreaker.
Eugene’s Juan Herrera (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season on the mound, while Bryan Leigh (1-2) pitched 22/3 innings of scoreless relief to record his first win of the season for the Frogs.
Everett Starter Jordan Shipers gave up just two hits in 31/3 innings but his command was off the mark. Shipers who pitched on eight days rest gave up eight walks, including a nightmare 15-pitch stretch in the third inning in which he couldn’t find the strike zone and walked in a run. The Frogs defense saved the day in the third as well as the first with bases-loaded, inning-ending double plays. In the end Shipers allowed just one run and struck out three.
The Aquasox jumped out to a quick lead in the top of the first. Jarrett Burgess singled to open the game. After an out Burgess scored on a Mario Yepez triple.
Everett missed a chance to break the game open in the second, leaving runners stranded in scoring position for the second consecutive inning. This time after a single and a pair of walks the Frogs left the bases full as Herrera escaped unscathed.
Herrera’s defense let him down in the third. The Em’s surrendered an unearned run to make it 2-0 Frogs.
In the sixth Everett’s Ramon Morla managed a two-out walk. The speedy Morla was in motion during the next at bat when catcher Michael Dowd singled and Morla came all the way around to score the game’s winning run. The next inning a stolen base proved crucial when Patrick Brady hit a one-out single and then took second with Yepez at the plate. Yepez then singled to make the score 4-1.
Eugene picked up an unearned run in the eighth off Cameron Hobson, who relieved Leigh, but Benjamin Versnik shut the Ems down in the ninth to record his first save of the season.
The Aquasox open the second-half of the season tonight at 7:05 p.m. and are looking for the three-game series sweep against the Emeralds.