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Emeralds deal TJs 8-4 defeat

EUGENE ­ Rodney Clifton played a role in all of the Southern OregonTimberjacks runs Monday against the Eugene Emeralds at Civic Stadium.

But Clifton didn't get much help from the supporting cast as the Timberjacksdropped the first of a three-game series to Eugene, 8-4.

Clifton smacked a high fastball from Emerald starter Rich Thieme fora three-run homer in the third inning. Javier Flores and Brad Gorrie precededClifton's fifth home run of the season with singles.

Clifton tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the ninth inning for SouthernOregon's other run.

Eugene got to Southern Oregon starter and losing pitcher Chris Gorrell(4-3) for a run in the first inning when Manuel Sanchez connected for aninside-the-park home run. Sanchez's drive bounced off the wall in left-centerfield and skipped past Timberjacks' center fielder Nathan Haynes, allowingSanchez to circle the bases.

After Clifton's smash gave Southern Oregon a 3-1 lead in the third, Eugenecut the margin to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning. Jeff Spencer doubledwith one out and Greg Strickland knocked him home with a two-out single.

Eugene took the lead for good with three runs in the fifth inning. Withone out, Mark Burke singled, Stuart Smothers walked and Strickland singledto load the bases. Mark Mortimer followed with a two-run double and it appearedStrickland was out at third on the play. But he was ruled safe because ofshortstop Eddie Lara obstructed the base runner. Al Castro grounded to thirdbaseman Brad Gorrie, who threw high at first for an error, allowing Stricklandto score with the third run of the inning.

The Emeralds added to their lead with an unearned run off reliever ElvinNina in the sixth and two more on Spencer's two-run homer off Timberjacksthird pitcher, Luis Vizcaino, in the eighth.