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Canadians take their time in series-closing victory.

Byline: Shawn Miller The Register-Guard

What Saturday night's Northwest League baseball game between Eugene and Vancouver lacked in brevity, it made up for with offense.

Before a crowd of 3,447 at Civic Stadium, the Canadians outlasted the Emeralds 11-9 in their longest game this season - 3 hours, 35 minutes.

"As a hitter, it's fun to play these games," said Eugene's Bobby Verbick, who finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a solo home run and four RBIs.

"If you are out in the field a lot, it can kind of drain you a little bit being out there that long."

Not to mention when the team comes up a couple runs short of victory.

Former Oregon State star Mike Lissman launched a two-run homer - his first of the season - over the left-field fence with one out in the eighth inning, breaking a 9-9 tie and earning the Canadians the series victory.

Vancouver and Eugene are tied for third place in the NWL's West Division at 12-20, four games behind division-leading Salem-Keizer.

"He just gave me a fastball," said Lissman, who finished with a team-high two hits. "I just see ball, hit ball, run. When you break it down, it's a simple game.

"We needed a big win. We hop on the bus and go eight hours back home. It makes the eight-hour trip a little easier."

The game was slowed by 15 combined walks, four hit batters, three wild pitches, two errors and a passed ball. Not to mention the numerous throws to check runners and seven pitching changes.

Each team scored at least one run in each of the first four innings, highlighted by Eugene's six-run fourth that tied the score at nine runs apiece.

In the inning, the first seven batters recorded a hit to overcome a 9-3 deficit. Following a leadoff triple by Logan Gelbrich, four consecutive Emeralds singled - capped by an RBI infield single off the pitcher's mound by Sawyer Carroll. The hit appeared to be a likely double-play ball before it deflected off the hill, continuing Eugene's momentum.

"You just want to get on base and try to chip away at the lead," said Derek Shunk, who had a pair of walks and two hits - including an RBI single following Gelbrich's triple.

Verbick then laced a two-RBI double down the third-base line that cut the deficit to 9-7 before Robbie Blauer's infield single finished the hitting streak.

Notes: On an infield single in the fourth inning, Carroll reached base for the 26th consecutive game. The streak, which began opening night, is the longest in the Northwest League this season. ... Emeralds pitcher Tyson Bagley (1-0) is scheduled to start on the mound for today's game against Tri-City at 4:05 p.m. - the first in a five-game home series.

ABOUT THE DUST DEVILS

Local boy returns: Johnny Bowden is getting more opportunities to play during his second season with Tri-City, and the Thurston graduate is making the most of his chance. Bowden is batting .404 with a home run, 10 runs scored, five doubles and six RBIs in 12 games at catcher. Bowden, a 41st-round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2007 out of USC, started his pro career with the Dust Devils last year and batted .179 in 22 games, primarily as a backup catcher. He is platooning with Jordan Pacheco this season and leads the Dust Devils in batting average, on-base percentage (.417) and slugging (.617). Bowden was a three-sport star for the Colts who earned all-league honors in baseball and football while also winning a district wrestling title. Bowden had a large cheering section when he played at Civic last year, and he helped the Dust Devils to a 3-2 win over the Ems when he had a run and an RBI while tagging out the potential tying run at the plate in the eighth inning. His parents, Gary and Judy, plan to host the entire Tri-City team during a barbecue at their house during the series.
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Title Annotation:Baseball Ems
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 20, 2008
Words:665
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