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Timberjacks beat Ems for seventh time

EUGENE-- One reason the Southern Oregon Timberjacks have led the Northwest League's Southern Division from day one has been their domination of the Eugene Emeralds.

Southern Oregon cranked out its seventh win without a loss against the Emeralds, 5-3, Thursday night before 3,269 at Civic Stadium.

Coupled with Salem Keizer's 10-3 win over second-place Portland, the Timberjacks (26-20) extended their lead to 5 games.

Jorge Soto, who missed the previous five games with a sore back, shared his pain with the Emeralds. Southern Oregon's designated hitter, ranked among the league's home run leaders the first month of the season, walloped a three-run blast off Eugene reliever Tim Lavery in the top of the sixth inning to give the TJs a 5-0 advantage.

Jeremy Schied and Gerald Laird started the inning with singles then Soto smacked the Eugene left-hander's 2-1 delivery 345 feet and over the left-center field wall. It was Soto's 10th smash of the season, but his first since July 15 against Yakima at Miles Field.

Soto now has 29 RBIs, tying Matt Forbes for No. 2 on the team behind NWL-leader Kirk Asche.

Even with the big lead, the Timberjacks wavered in the late innings before closer Bryan Mazur came on to notch his sixth save.

After T'jacks starter Franklyn German blanked the Ems on two hits over five innings, the Ems touched reliever Justin Lehr for two runs in the seventh and one more in the the ninth.

Mazur, whose 3.10 ERA is the only one on the Southern Oregon staff less than 4.36, recorded the final two outs.