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Tri-City’s Comeback Grand in Series-Clinching Win over Eugene

Tri-City Dust Devils

May 12, 2024 – Northwest League (NWL)
Tri-City Dust Devils News Release

Tri-City Dust Devils' C Kevin Bruggeman at bat
Tri-City Dust Devils’ C Kevin Bruggeman at bat
(Tri-City Dust Devils)

Down 5-1 through five innings of play at PK Park Saturday night, the Tri-City Dust Devils (13-18) scored nine unanswered runs to rally for a 10-5 victory over the Eugene Emeralds (19-12) and clinch their first series win of 2024.

The rally began in the top of the 6th inning when 3B Ben Gobbel was hit by a pitch, 1B Matt Coutney stung a ground-rule double to right-center, and SS Shane Matheny was plunked to load the bases. C Kevin Bruggeman found it a perfect time for both his first home run as a professional and Tri-City’s first grand slam of 2024, a shot over the left field wall to tie the game at 5-5.

Free passes also aided the Dust Devils’ comeback quest an inning later. Eugene reliever Ben Madison (2-1), who had walked only four in his first 15 innings of the season, issued bases on balls to the same three who got on in the 6th: Gobbel, Coutney and Matheny. That brought Bruggeman back up, who then took a slider off the brim of his helmet for an RBI hit-by-pitch. That gave Tri-City a 6-5 lead and Bruggeman his fifth run batted in of the night.

The bases remained loaded for CF Werner Blakely, who sent a slicing bloop to shallow left field that landed in front of a diving Emeralds LF Tanner O’Tremba and rolled toward the warning track. Coutney, Matheny and Bruggeman all scored on a bases-clearing triple by Blakely, with his first three-bagger of the year giving the Dust Devils a 9-5 edge.

The tenth and final run of the night came quickly in the top of the 8th, which began with a lined single to left by 2B Caleb Ketchup. He stole second on the first pitch to LF Jorge Ruiz, who then chopped a grounder up the middle and through the infield to plate Ketchup for the final margin.

Tri-City starter Joel Hurtado (2-3) battled through six innings to give his team his longest start of the year, rebounding from a three-run home run by Eugene 2B Thomas Gavello that comprised the bulk of a four-run bottom of the 5th. The righty walked only one and struck out nine, matching a season-high in strikeouts for the Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic native.

The relief combo of Dylan Phillips (2 IP) and Jared Southard (1 IP) handled it the rest of the way, throwing three scoreless frames to cinch the Dust Devils’ fourth win in five games in the original Emerald City.

Offensively, Ben Gobbel had another great night by going 2-for-3…

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