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Emeralds grab opener with Indians behind Morrison, Twomey

Eugene Emeralds pitchers never allowed the Spokane Indians to get settled in Wednesday during their first appearance at Avista Stadium since July 17.

Piggyback starters Preston Morrison and Kyle Twomey threw two hitless innings apiece, setting the tone as Eugene opened the five-game Northwest League series with a 4-3 victory.

Morrison, drafted in the eighth round out of TCU in June, made his fourth appearance for Eugene. Twomey, a 13th-rounder from USC, played in his fifth game with the Emeralds.

“It’s pretty standard for guys who were starters in college to try to ease them into the professional baseball world,” Morrison said. … “A lot of our guys in the bullpen are one- or two-inning guys. The guy who pitched after me (Twomey), we’re on the same program. He was a starter, too, so we take turns going 1-2.”

Scott Frazier, Craig Brooks (1-0) and Greyfer Eregua (save No. 1) worked the final five innings for Eugene. Eregua pitched the last three, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and striking out Leon Byrd and Dylan Moore in the ninth with pinch-runner Yeyson Yrizarri on second base.

“It’s tough as hitters, when you’re facing a different guy each time,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “But everybody’s allowed to do that, so you just have to deal with it.”

“You can’t (as a hitter) be like, ‘All right, this guy wants to throw me this way,’ and then the next time you come to the plate it’s a completely different approach,” Morrison said. “Me and Twomey, we’re very different, and then Eregua’s so different. We’re all really good at what we do and it’s different ends of the spectrum.”

Spokane scored just two runs during the final two games of its 11-game road trip, which ended with a respectable 6-5 record.

“We just go through those spells sometimes,” Hulett said. “It seems like we’re all on the same wave. If we’re hitting good, it’s everybody. And if we’re not hitting good, it’s everybody. It’s just one of those things we go through.”

The Indians’ offense showed some life against Frazier in the fifth, collecting three hits, including Dean Long’s one-out RBI single to center field. They also knocked around Brooks in the sixth, as Moore led off with a double off the base of the wall in left-center and Todd McDonald tied the game at 3 with a two-out, two-run double that rolled to the wall in left-center.

But Eugene bounced back with the winning run in the seventh against first Indians reliever Jason Richman (0-3). No. 9 hitter Ricardo Marcano, who finished 3 for 3 with two RBIs, singled to left with two outs. He scored from first base when Indians center fielder LeDarious Clark bobbled Donnie Dewees’ subsequent single.

Spokane starter Cody Palmquist allowed five singles to the first nine batters he faced but pitched effectively for the next four innings.

“Sometimes when you’re a strike-thrower, you get a club that’s aggressive in swinging early in counts,” Hulett said. “But (Palmquist) only gave up one run each time he gave up a run, so he minimized the damage and we were in the game because of his ability to throw strikes with guys on base.”

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