EUGENE — A three-run eighth inning broke a tie — and negated a strong pitching performance by Dylan Unsworth — as the Eugene Emeralds defeated the Everett AquaSox 4-1 on Tuesday night.
The Emeralds broke the 1-1 tie on a wild pitch by Frogs reliever Matthew Vedo that scored Jonathan Roof. Roof — who reached base on a single — got a free trip around the bases, advancing to second and third on two passed balls by catcher Mike Zunino.
One batter later, Rodney Daal got his third hit of the game, a single to left field, that scored Jeremy Baltz and Maxx Tissenbaum.
Vedo (1-3) took the loss after relieving Unsworth at the start of the eighth inning. The Sox starter, who hails from South Africa, pitched seven innings, allowing one run and scattering five hits. Unsworth is 5-0 this season, with a 3.21 earned-run average.
The AquaSox opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning. Shortstop Ketel Marte reached base on an infield single, and advanced to second on a throwing error by Eugene shortstop Felipe Blanco. The next batter, Seattle Mariners first-round draft pick Zunino, singled to left field to score Marte and give the Frogs a 1-0 advantage.
That lead was short lived, however. In the bottom of the same inning, Eugene responded with a solo home run by Jeremy Baltz to tie the game.
Then the pitching took over.
Unsworth held Eugene scoreless until he left in the eighth, and four Eugene pitchers combined to shutout the AquaSox the rest of the way.
Third baseman Patrick Kivlehan led the Frogs with two hits.
Despite the loss, the AquaSox (4-3) still lead the second-half standings, a half game ahead of the Emeralds (4-4), a farm team for the San Diego Padres.
The Frogs clinched the West Division’s first-half title, assuring the AquaSox a postseason berth. One game separates Everett, Eugene, the Vancouver Canadians and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in the standings, as the latter three teams try to clinch the second West Division playoff spot.