AquaSox bullpen melts down in 7-6 loss

EVERETT — The Everett AquaSox kept scratching and clawing themselves back into the game Tuesday night.

But every time the Sox caught back up, the pitching immediately gave it back away.

Reliever Javier Martinez walked in the winning run in the top of the ninth inning, and Everett fell to the Eugene Emeralds 7-6 at Everett Memorial Stadium.

Everett twice came from behind to tie it, including climbing out of a three-run hole to tie it at 6-6 in the eighth.

But each time the Sox tied it up, the following half-inning Eugene surged back ahead thanks to wildness from the Everett bullpen.

“It was another tough one,” said Everett first baseman Brandon Fromm, who went 3-for-4. “We’ve just got to keep putting things together. When we hit we have trouble pitching. Team wise we can compete with any of these guys, we just have to put all aspects of the game together. When we do we’re tough to beat.”

The top of the ninth was a mess all around for the Sox. The start of the frame was delayed when Everett manager Jose Moreno, ejected for the second straight game — this time arguing a delayed called third strike on Tyson Gillies that ended the bottom of the eighth — refused to leave the dugout.

Then after Sawyer Carroll led off with a single and was sacrificed to second, Everett’s control woes continued. First came an intentional walk that included a wild pitch by Martinez. Then came back-to-back walks on full-count pitches, the second one to Dean Anna forcing in the tiebreaking run. Throughout those two at-bats the Everett crowd, still buzzing from Moreno’s ejection, howled its disapproval as borderline pitches were called balls.

It was the second time control issues plagued Everett during the game. The Sox scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to tie it up, only for reliever Doug Salinas to walk the bases loaded in the top of the sixth and force home a run when he hit Daniel Robertson. Salinas was yanked and Carroll greeted Matt Renfree with a two-run single to increase Eugene’s lead to three.

So despite the fact that Everett kept battling back, and despite the fact that Sox pitchers combined to strike out 16, Everett saw its record fall to 11-17.

“We have a lot of fight in us,” Fromm said. “We just didn’t have enough tonight. It shows once we’re down we’re not out. Once we put things together we’ll be fine.”

Angel Mercado and Anna each homered for Eugene (11-17). Rob Musgrave picked up the win with 12/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Everett starting pitcher Walter Suriel had an interesting night. The right-hander made a lot of Eugene bats miss, striking out 11 in five innings. However, when the Emeralds did connect they hit the ball a long way. Five of the six hits against Suriel went for extra bases, and Suriel departed the game having surrendered three runs.

Eugene opened the scoring in the top of the second when both Mercado and Anna got hold of pitches and blasted them way out of the stadium for solo shots, giving the Emeralds a 2-0 lead.

Everett got one run back in the bottom of the second when Fromm’s high fly ball hit high off the wall in right-center for an RBI double.

Eugene went back up by two in the fifth when Mercado dropped a soft liner just in front of diving center fielder Kevin Reynolds, scoring Robertson from third to make it 3-1.

But Everett tied it up in the bottom of the third when Gillies sliced a two-run double into the left-field corner.

After Eugene regained the lead in the sixth, Everett closed in again in the seventh on an RBI single by Ryan Royster followed by a run-scoring double by Ben Billingsley, making it 6-5. The Sox then tied it up in the eighth, Welington Dotel going the opposite way for an RBI single.

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