Clayton Daniel hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th to lift Eugene to a 6-5 win over Salem-Keizer Monday night at PK Park.
The Ems trailed 5-4 entering the bottom of the 11th when Luis Diaz started the frame at second base due to an experimental rule in minor league baseball this season. Jonathan Soto opened the inning with a double that scored Diaz to tie the game.
After Fernando Kelly grounded out, Daniel hit a single up the middle that scored Soto with the winning run.
“It’s a great feeling I can’t put into words,” Daniel said. “I had a blunder in the ninth inning when I didn’t get a bunt down, but there are always more opportunities in this game. I am happy it came back around to me and I got the hit at the end.”
Eugene (11-20) had runners at first and second with no outs in the top of the ninth when Daniel failed twice to put down a bunt before he popped out. Luis Vazquez followed with a pop out before Tyler Durna struck out to force extra innings.
Salem-Keizer scored two runs in the top of the 10th before Nelson Velazquez hit a two-run home run to tie the game for Eugene.
The Volcanoes scored again in the top of the 11th, but Eugene answered with two in the bottom of the inning.
“That is what we have been doing, battling back and it was good to see them rewarded for it,” Eugene manager Steve Lerud said. “It has been a tough stretch, but we have been in a lot of games like this with a little drama at the end.”
Salem-Keizer took a lead in the top of the first when Brailyn Marquez walked Jose Layer before he advanced to third on a single by Kyle McPherson. Diego Rincones grounded into a double play that plated Layer.
Eugene tied the game in the third when Salem reliever Solomon Bates walked four batters.
Kelli and Daniel each walked before Vazquez advanced the runners on a ground out.
S-K catcher Ricardo Genoves attempted to pick off Kelli at third base, but made a wild throw that allowed Kelli to score. Duran and Velazquez each walked to load the bases before Jonathan Sierra struck out to end the inning.
The Volcanoes went back ahead when Rincones hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth.
Eugene got its first hit in the bottom of the fourth when Brennon Kaleiwahea hit a two-out single off reliever Trent Toplikar.
The Ems tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Sierra led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Kaleiwahea.
Marquez allowed four hits and two runs, including one unearned, in 4 2/3 innings while striking out five. Sean Berry relieved Marquez and threw 1 1/3 hitless innings before Cam Sanders pitched a scoreless inning.
Salem-Keizer scored twice in the top of the 10th after Robinson Medrano started the inning on second base and Genoves followed with a single before Medrano scored when Mikey Edie grounded into a double play.
Dalton Combs followed with a homer off reliever Luis Aquino, who allowed four hits in three innings.
Tyler Durna began the bottom of the 10th on second base for Eugene before Velazquez followed with a two-run homer.
NOTES: Eugene will start Derek Casey, a ninth-round pick out of Virginia who threw two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the year, in the second game of the series Tuesday while the Volcanoes will counter with Sean Hjelle (0-0, 2.25), a second-round selection from Kentucky. … Joey Bart, the No. 2 overall selection in the draft by San Francisco out of Georgia Tech, got a day off in the opener. He has seven homers and 16 RBIs in 10 games with the Volcanoes.