Relief work by Smith, Eskridge helps Gems defeat Pistol Shrimp, move one game out of first place

Quincy Gems reliever Stephen Eskridge | Photo courtesy Quincy Gems

Stephen Eskridge | Photo courtesy of Quincy Gems

PERU, Ill. — A six-run third inning, highlighted by a three-run homer from Jaison Andujar, helped the Quincy Gems take a big early lead as they hung on to defeat the Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp 9-7 on Saturday night in a Prospect League game at Schweickert Stadium.

The Gems (20-20, 7-5 second half) are in second place in the Great River Division, one game behind Clinton (7-3). All four teams in the division have records of .500 or better.

Quincy took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Jordan Scott’s single scored Andujar. Jimmy Koza and Kyle Hvidsten each singled with one out in the third inning, and Andujar clubbed a homer to right field. The homer was the 36th of the season for the Gems, who lead the Prospect League in that statistic.

However, the Gems weren’t finished in the third. Harry Oden singled and Scott walked, and Easton Mains drove both home with a triple. Luke Jessen then singled to score Mains.

Braden Smith picked up the victory in relief, striking out four batters in two scoreless innings. Smith has pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief since joining the team.

The Pistol Shrimp scored three times against reliever Jake Syverson in the seventh. However, Stephen Eskridge wrapped up the victory with two innings of hitless relief. He struck out five batters, including striking out the side in the ninth, to earn the save. Eskridge has allowed just one run in 15 2/3 innings for a 0.57 earned run average this summer. He has 21 strikeouts in 15 innings. 

Hvidsten had three hits and scored three runs. Andujar walked four times and scored two runs. Oden and Jessen each had two hits. 

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