Walks, runners left on base and extra inning rule help AquaSox down Emeralds 7-4

Just three nights ago, the Eugene Emeralds lost to the Everett AquaSox thanks to the new extra innings rule, where a runner is placed on second base to start the inning. Monday night, things were eerily similar.

The Emeralds lost to the AquaSox 7-4 in 10 innings thanks to a mix of walking too many batters, stranding base runners and the dreaded extra innings rule.

“You try to get them that confidence back, and that conviction in the stuff that they have to get them back in the zone,” manager Steven Lerud said.

Despite the game getting off to a good start with two runs in the first inning, it quickly turned sour when starting pitcher Jose Albertos, the No. 4 prospect in the Cubs organization, walked the first five batters of the second inning on 21 pitches, which led to four runs. All four runners that scored reached base via walks. Albertos now has a 12.27 ERA.

“We just got to keep on him and try to get some confidence back with him and get him back in the strike zone,” Lerud said. “He just loses it for a little bit there and it just kind of snowballs on him… It might be a little bit of road for him but we’re not going to quit on him.”

Walks have plagued the Emeralds all season. Although they average 1.86 walks when they win, they allow a staggering 4.1 walks in losses.

The bullpen on the other hand was spectacular up until extra innings. Yan De La Cruz went four innings, pitching to contact and forcing nine ground outs. Jake Steffens took the next three, allowing one hit and getting the Ems’ only two strikeouts of the game. Casey Ryan shut down Everett in the ninth, but was unable to keep the game tied in extras, allowing three runs, one of which was the free runner.

Offensively, Cubs No. 9 prospect, Nelson Velazquez, had a terrific game, going 2-5 with a two-run home run and a game-tying double in the ninth inning. The other run came in the sixth on a Tyler Durna single.

One player missing from the lineup was Cubs first round pick, shortstop Nico Hoerner, who is day-to-day after jamming his finger Sunday.

The Ems will play the final game of the homestand tomorrow, but will be playing with a different name. As part of the Copa de la Diversion campaign, embracing and celebrating the Latino community, the Emeralds will be known as “Los Monarcas” and wear special jerseys. There will also be fireworks postgame.

“The goal of this season-long project was to create a more inclusive environment at PK Park, and the third of July is simply another fantastic evening to strengthen the cause,” said Emeralds General Manager Allan Benavides in a press release. “We hope that fans will continue to embrace Los Monarcas de Eugene and appreciate the touching symbolism behind the uniforms our players will wear for the night.”

Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack

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