SPOKANE - It only took the Volcanoes four hits to get the series-opening victory on Wednesday evening from Avista Stadium, as solid pitching by the Salem-Keizer staff held up in the 3-0 win.
With the game scoreless through four innings, the Volcanoes were the first to get on the board in the fifth inning. Rafael Rodriguez reached on an error, stole second base, and advanced to third on another Spokane error. With Rodriguez on third, Chuckie Jones doubled down the left field line to plate Rodriguez and grant the Volcanoes the slim 1-0 lead.
After giving up multiple hits to the Spokane offense early on, Joe Biagini settled down to complete a successful outing. Biagini tossed six effective innings of shutout, five-hit ball while recording eight strikeouts, adding the performance to nine-strikeout and ten-strikeout games from earlier in the season. Biagini picked up his second win of the season. Steven Okert was strong in his one and two-thirds innings, as he allowed just one base runner via a walk. Okert struck out two of the five batters he faced. Tyler Mizenko solidified his place among the Northwest League save leaders with his eleventh save of the season - now far and away in second place - after marking down the final four outs of the contest while surrendering just one hit.
Insurance runs were added in the ninth inning off the bats of Joe Rapp and Mac Williamson. Rapp hit a two-out, line-drive single to setup a two-RBI blast for Williamson. Mac is quickly climbing the Northwest League homerun leaderboards with his seven home runs, despite playing less than one-third as many games as the majority of the top power hitters in the league.
The four Salem-Keizer hits came from Joe Rapp, Mac Williamson, Mitch Delfino, and Chuckie Jones. Spokane edged the Volcanoes in the hits column with six, led by leadoff hitter Jake Skole with three.
C.J. Edwards was outstanding in his start on the mound for the Indians, but he was handed the loss. Edwards allowed just two hits but did give up one unearned run.
The Volcanoes have now gone nineteen straight innings without allowing a run to cross the plate for the opponent. It took Salem-Keizer 66 games before spinning their first shutout, whereas the second one came much quicker with another shutout in Wednesday's 67th game. The Volcanoes are one win short of finding the .500 mark again, and are now just four games behind first-place Vancouver in the NWL West.
Salem-Keizer looks to crawl closer to division-leading Vancouver and take another step towards clinching the series with Spokane when game two gets underway at 6:30p.m. on Thursday night from Avista Stadium. Cameron Lamb (1-0, 2.92) will make his second start of the season for the Volcanoes while Jose Valdespina (2-6, 6.29) will face him.