KEIZER, Ore -- The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes clawed their way back from being down early in their second appearance against the Tri-City Dust Devils to chalk up the team's first victory of the 2017 season.
Early on it appeared the Volcanoes' pitching woes from Opening Night carried over into the first frame. Starting right-handed pitcher Jose Marte could not buy a strike, as he walked five straight batsmen after recording the first out of the inning on a ground ball.
Following the fifth walk, manager Jolbert Cabrera finally gave the hook on his wild bronco, calling in lefty Nick Deeg to relieve Marte. Despite a fresh arm, Deeg also struggled to find the plate as he walked Dust Devils first baseman Bryant Aragon for the team's sixth-straight walk in the inning.
As Aragon trotted his way to first base to extend the lead to 3-0, the disgruntled murmurs from the home crowd grew evermore. Deeg ultimately escaped the jam after inducing a line drive out off of the bat of Tri-City catcher Wilfri De La Cruz to shortstop Manuel Geraldo who tossed the ball to second base to double up the runner.
Center fielder Malique Ziegler brought some sunshine to a nebulous night as well as smiles to the faces of Salem-Keizer fans with a solo home run to left field, the first of the season for the center fielder and the Volcanoes, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Dust Devils tacked on another run when second baseman Justin Lopez chopped a base hit through the left side, augmenting the score to 4-1. Ziegler flashed the lumber all evening, going 3-for-4 with a double and a triple shy of the cycle.
However, the Volcanoes did not buckle and pulled within one run of the lead in the bottom half of the fourth when catcher Jeffry Parra laced a two-run single over the noggin of Lopez. But the Dust Devils got the run back when center fielder Tre Carter clubbed a solo dinger over the right field wall for a 5-3 lead.
It was not until the bottom of the sixth when the Volcanoes overtook the Dust Devils for the squad's first lead of the ballgame. After a one-out triple by left fielder Robinson Medrano, Geraldo hit a squib that he beat out for a base hit and scored Medrano.
With the deficit back to one, Ryan Kirby entered the game to pinch hit for first baseman John Riley, and promptly singled up the gut to knot the score at five all.
Next up at the dish was the ninth-hole hitter, third baseman Byron Murray, who sent a 3-2 pitch soaring into the Keizer night, over the left field wall for a go-ahead two-run bomb that gave the Volcanoes a 7-5 advantage.
But the Dust Devils refused to back down. Designated hitter Boomer White swatted a run-scoring double to shrink the Volcanoes' lead to 7-6.
The Volcanoes stretched their lead to 8-6 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Parra led off the frame with a triple to center field and crossed home plate on a wild pitch. They loaded up the bases in the same inning, but right fielder Juan Rodriguez and designated hitter Dylan Manwaring struck out to strand the base runners.
The Dust Devils threatened once again in the top of the ninth inning when Carter reached on a throwing error by Parra to first base after striking out swinging.
With Carter on first base, White walked up to home plate representing the tying run. Yanez worked the count to 0-2 and wiped White away with a breaking ball to seal the deal for the Volcanoes and pick up the save.
Righty Hengerber Medina earned the victory on the night, tossing 3.2 innings, serving up two runs (one earned) and striking out four. Righty Emmanuel Clase took the loss after surrendering five runs in 3.1 innings of work.
The Volcanoes will continue their series with the Dust Devils tomorrow. Right-hander Sydney Duprey will dual with fellow righty Will Stillman at 6:35 p.m. at Volcanoes Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.