Piatt makes Emeralds pay with fifth blast in five nights
EUGENE So just what were the Eugene Emeralds thinking Wednesdaynight when they intentionally walked the bases loaded to bring the NorthwestLeague's hottest hitter to the plate?
Was Eugene manager Jim Saul playing the percentages, showing a littlechutzpa or just plain forgetful?
Whatever the case, the move backfired all the way over the right fieldwall at Civic Stadium as Southern Oregon's Adam Piatt bashed a grand slamto highlight a 12-4 Timberjacks victory before 6,841 fans.
The Timberjacks led 4-0 going into the sixth inning when they battedaround, scoring six runs on three hits and four walks. Brad Gorrie uppedthe lead to 6-0 with a two-run double. Then came the decision that put thegame beyond the Ems' reach.
Instead of having Rodney Allen pitch to Mike Koerner, whose 14-game hittingstreak ended Tuesday night, Saul ordered an intentional walk. That broughtPiatt, who had connected for home runs in the four previous games and hadbeen named the NWL's hitter of the week two days earlier, to bat.
Piatt propelled Allen's first pitch 360 feet to make it five nights,five homers all against Eugene.
Piatt finished the night with two hits and five RBIs. Before his presentsix-game hitting streak, Piatt was hitting .231. He has boosted his battingaverage to .330 and now has 22 RBIs.
The Emeralds were so bewildered that they gave up pitching to him andstarted throwing at the eighth-round draft pick out of Mississippi State.
With one out in the eighth inning, Jacob Schumate the fourth offive Eugene pitchers fired a pitch over Piatt's had. Home plate umpireSteve Cox ejected Schumate and then listened to Saul's orations for threeminutes before play resumed.
The Timberjacks spanked 13 hits, including Hipolito Martinez's firsthome run in the seventh inning.