Emeralds top Aquasox 5-1

EVERETT — Opportunity knocked for the Everett AquaSox early in their game Monday night against the Eugene Emeralds. However, the Sox didn’t answer the door, and opportunity never stopped by for another house call.

Everett stranded nine runners on base during the first five innings, and the Sox succumbed to the Eugene Emeralds 5-1 at Everett Memorial Stadium.

Everett put two runners on base in four of the first five innings, and in the fifth the Sox advanced their lone runner to third. But Everett was unable to capitalize on any of those chances, stranding six runners in scoring position.

Then the Sox didn’t get much of anything going offensively in the final four frames. The one run Everett scored came in the bottom of the ninth and was essentially conceded by the Emeralds.

“It was a tough one,” Everett manager Rob Mummau said. “We had our opportunities early on, we just left a bunch of guys on base, and they got some clutch hits themselves. It was just one of those nights.”

Corey Adamson went 3-for-5 with three RBI to lead Eugene (16-12 second half, 40-25 overall), which moved back into a tie with Everett (12-15, 40-25) for the best overall record in the Northwest League.

Ketel Marte was the lone Everett batter to have more than one hit as he went 2-for-5. The Sox managed just five hits.

Everett had its chances against Eugene starting pitcher Justin Hancock. Hancock came into the game with the league’s second-best ERA at 1.79. Yet the Sox constantly threatened as Hancock gave up two hits and four walks during his four innings.

However, the hard-throwing right-hander somehow navigated his way through the mess, working out of jams with the aid of six strikeouts.

“He got some big-time strikeouts,” Mummau said of Hancock. “He stepped it up when he got men on base tonight, so hats off to him.”

Everett starter Steven Ewing had a solid effort, but received no run support and saw his record fall to 3-2. The lefty went 52/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out four.

Eugene opened the scoring in the top of the third. Alberth Martinez led off with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball, took third on Mallex Smith’s sacrifice bunt, then scored on Adamson’s single to center, giving the Emeralds a 1-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Sox were busy stranding runners. Everett left two runners on base in each of the first three innings. In the third the Sox had runners at second and third with nobody out, but Hancock struck out Marcus Littlewood and Alfredo Morales before getting Janelfry Zorrilla to ground out, and a zero remained in Everett’s runs column.

“When we didn’t score anybody in that inning, it seemed to give them the momentum,” Mummau said. “And they got some clutch hits.”

Those clutch hits came for Eugene in the fifth. With two on and two out, Smith placed a drag bunt to just the right spot on the right side of the infield, scoring Dane Phillips from third. Then Adamson smacked his second RBI single of the game to right, making it 3-0.

Eugene added a fourth run in the seventh as Adamson was at it again, this time lining an RBI single over a drawn-in infield. The Emeralds tacked one more on for good measure in the ninth on Jeremy Baltz’s RBI single up the middle.

Everett avoided being shut out in the ninth, in large part because of Eugene’s lack of interest. With one out Mike Faulkner walked, took second on indifference, third on a wild pitch, then scored uncontested on Jamodrick McGruder’s flyout to shallow center.

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