SPOKANE - It was a rough go of things for the Salem-Keizer pitching staff in the first half of Sunday evening's contest from Avista Stadium, as Spokane recorded five extra-base hits in the span of two innings to knock off the Volcanoes 10-4.
Despite the series finale loss, Salem-Keizer (16-17) still won the five-game series three games to two. However, the Volcanoes are now 3.5 games back of a playoff spot, fading the chance of a playoff berth. Spokane (14-19) is tied for second in the Eastern Division.
The Volcanoes jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after posting single tallies in the first and second innings. The opening frame yielded two singles which resulted in an opening run, as Mac Williamson drove in Trevor Brown on an RBI single. In the second, Chuckie Jones scored - after being hit by a pitch - off of a Ryan Jones' fielders' choice.
The Spokane scoring spree began in the home-half of the second, and ended innings later with ten runs of damage on the scoreboard. The Indians' lineup caught fire to the tune of two homers, a triple, and a double in the second and third innings alone. The disastrous five-run fifth was the result of free passes given away, most noticeably with the bases loaded.
Salem-Keizer picked up runs here and there to try to make up the deficit, but the ten runs proved to be too much to overcome as Spokane left the diamond victorious.
Both sides recorded nine hits in the contest, but the difference was extra-base hits, in which Spokane dominated 6-1. Mac Williamson recorded two hits in his first two at bats, while Stephen Yarrow marked the other multi-hit performance, as he was 2-for-2 in his pinch-hitting role. Ryan Jones - despite not getting a hit - was the team RBI leader with a pair. Jake Skole and Royce Bolinger each had two hits for Spokane, with home runs coming from Joey Gallo and Joe Maloney.
Joan Gregorio (7-7, 5.35) had a short-lived, three and two-thirds innings start for Salem-Keizer. Gregorio surrendered seven hits and five earned runs. Ian Gardeck was called upon to relieve, but he struggled with his control as he made it through just one out while giving up five runs and three walks. Steven Okert, Kendry Flores, and Gaspar Santiago pitched down the stretch and didn't allow any additional runs to Spokane. The Indians only needed a trio of pitchers to cruise to the win, as John Kukuruda (3-4, 4.86) earned the win after his six-inning outing.
The Volcanoes will head home for the season-ending five-game series with the Tri-City Dust Devils (12-21) beginning on Tuesday. Games on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are scheduled to begin from Volcanoes Stadium at 6:35p.m., with the final two games of the regular season starting on Friday and Saturday at 7:05p.m.