When playing the Tri-City Dust Devils this year, it certainly pays to take an early lead. And when Brian Shaffer and Kevin McCanna are pitching for the Hops, that lead doesn't have to be much.Shaffer and McCanna worked together as a "piggyback" combo for the fifth consecutive start and combined
When playing the Tri-City Dust Devils this year, it certainly pays to take an early lead. And when Brian Shaffer and Kevin McCanna are pitching for the Hops, that lead doesn't have to be much.
Shaffer and McCanna worked together as a "piggyback" combo for the fifth consecutive start and combined on seven shutout innings with 12 strikeouts as the Hops defeated the Dust Devils 2-0 Wednesday night in front of a Fan Appreciation night crowd of 4,036 at Ron Tonkin Field.
The Devils took three of five in the series to go to 7-3 against the Hops this season, but the loss dealt a potentially damaging blow to their playoff hopes after Spokane defeated Salem-Keizer. The Indians, winners of five straight and eight of their last 11, now lead the Northwest League North Division by a game over Tri-City. With a three-game lead over Spokane in the overall standings, if the Devils avoid a sweep in their final three-game series they would advance to the postseason if Vancouver finishes atop the second-half standings. The Canadians are two games back of Spokane and one behind Tri-City with three to play.
Shaffer pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and McCanna took over in the third, tossing five innings with nine strikeouts and three walks. McCanna worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, striking out Jalen Washington to preserve a 1-0 lead.
Pavin Smith's first-inning RBI single scored Camden Duzenack with the Hops' first run of the game. Both hits came with two outs and nobody on base. It was the only run allowed by Tri-City starter Tom Cosgrove, who surrendered four hits and no walks with one strikeout over six innings.
Drew Ellis gave Hillsboro a little more breathing room with a solo home run in the seventh off Dalton Erb, his team-leading eighth of the season.
Matt Peacock tossed a scoreless eighth for the Hops, helped by a beautiful double play turned by Duzenack and Ryan Grotjohn. Matt Brill gave up a pair of two-out base hits in the ninth but struck out Matt Batten to nail down his second save.
The Hops wrap up the regular season with three games at Boise. The Hawks can still win the NWL South Division title with a sweep over the Hops. The entire league takes a day off Thursday. Friday's series opener airs at 5:45 p.m. on Rip City Radio 620 AM with first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m.