The Boise Hawks pitched their way to a 3-0 win over the Volcanoes in the Northwest League South Divisional playoffs opener at Memorial Stadium in Boise on Tuesday, clinching just their second win against the Volcanoes in postseason play in franchise history. The win moves the Hawks to one victory away from a berth in the Northwest League Championship series.
Paul Blackburn (3-3) was lights out in the start for Boise, pitching seven innings of shutout baseball, giving up just two hits while striking out eight.
The Hawks got on the board early and never looked back, posting two of their three runs in the first. Kevin Encarnacion led off the game with a single and scored during the next at-bat when Danny Lockhart doubled to right. Encarnacion went 3-for-4 in the contest with a double and two runs scored.
Chase Johnson (3-3) gave up two runs on six hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking one. He has now given up 13 runs to the Hawks in three appearances.
After Salem-Keizer came up with back-to-back singles in the second, the Boise pitching staff would retire the next 18 batters that came to the plate. Blake Miller would be walked by Zack Godley in the eighth with two outs to end the streak. They would not record another hit until the ninth when Ty Ross hit a leadoff single. He would be replaced by pinch-runner Randy Ortiz who was stranded on base when Jeremy Sy struck out looking to end the game.
Seven of the nine hitters in the Volcanoes lineup would be struck out during the game, giving the Hawks' pitching staff a final tally of 11 strikeouts against just one walk.
With the 1-0 series lead, Boise needs to win just one of the next two games to advance and Salem-Keizer must win out to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Volcanoes and Hawks will now travel back to Volcanoes Stadium for game two of the Northwest League South Divisional series. Game time on Wednesday from Keizer is set for 6:35 p.m.
About the Volcanoes: The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a minor league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Home games are played at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer from mid-June through early-September. Tickets start at just $7. For more information call the Volcanoes at (503) 390-2225.