EUGENE, Ore. – Leadoff hitter Jace Peterson homered and drove in four runs Wednesday night to power the Eugene Emeralds to a 7-3 win over the Spokane Indians to open a five-game Northwest League series at Civic Stadium.
Peterson’s three-run homer to right field in the sixth inning off David Perez salted away the game after the Indians had scored twice in their sixth to cut into Eugene’s 4-0 lead.
The outcome tightened the NWL postseason race because Boise, the team Spokane must hold off to make the playoffs, defeated host Salem-Keizer 7-4.
If East Division first-half champion Tri-City holds on to win the second half, the team with the best overall record would meet T-C in the first round of the NWL playoffs. With the regular season down to nine games, Spokane is 32-35 and Boise is 30-37.
Eugene, the West Division first-half winner, jumped on Spokane starter Kevin Matthews (0-2) for two runs in the first. Duanel Jones hit a two-out double to left to score Peterson, and Justin Miller followed with an RBI double to center.
Peterson increased the lead to 3-0 with an RBI single to left in the fourth off Arlett Mavare.
Mavare walked Casey McElroy to open the fifth. McElroy moved to third on third baseman Nick Vickerson’s throwing error, then scored on Mavare’s wild pitch.
Spokane halved the lead in the sixth. Vickerson doubled to left and scored on Rougned Odor’s double to right. Yefry Castillo’s two-out single to right scored Odor.
The Emeralds bounced right back, as Jose Dore walked and Jeremy Rodriguez was hit by a pitch before Peterson’s homer, his second of the season.
The season series is split after six games.
The Indians dropped to 10-24 on the road this season.