Ten thousand dollars may have eased the pain for one of the 3,937 fans at Avista Stadium on Wednesday, but it wouldn’t have done a thing in the Spokane Indians’ clubhouse.
On a night when a fan would take home $10,000 if the Indians had 10 strikeouts, they came up one K short.
To make matters worse, the first two Spokane pitchers whiffed nine through five innings.
Adding insult to injury, the Indians battled back from a pair of seven-run deficits only to see the Eugene Emeralds score twice in the ninth to steal an 11-10 Northwest League win.
“It was a roller coaster,” Spokane manager Tim Hulett said. “We’re down 7-0 after two innings and our guys busted tail to get back in the game. You can’t ask anything more of those guys than that. … These guys kept playing hard. It’s a shame we can’t get it done on the mound.”
Joe Bonadonna’s two-out, three-run double in the eighth capped the Spokane rally for a 10-9 lead. The Indians were down 7-0 after two and 9-2 going into the bottom of the sixth.
Eugene’s Dean Anna and Edinson Rincon opened the ninth with solid singles off Johnny Gunter (0-3), and moved up a base on a wild pitch. Vince Belnome plated the first run with a groundout to second and Nate Freiman followed with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Indians (14-25) outhit the Emeralds 15-8, but Eugene (18-21) scored five runs in the first to set the tone.
Spokane starter Keith Campbell labored through a 32-pitch first inning.
Griffin Benedict hit his first professional home run, a three-run rocket to right, to make it 5-0.
Campbell, a 15th-round pick out of Everett CC, didn’t fare much better in the second, allowing two runs before being replaced by Reiner Bermudez.
From there it was just a matter of seeing if the Indians could muster enough offense or the pitchers could get enough strikeouts. Bermudez did his part with six strikeouts before Chris Matlock took over in the sixth. He gave up a pair of runs, one on a wild pitch, the second aided by the third of catcher Zach Zaneski’s three throwing errors.
Tommy Mendonca put the Indians on the board in the second with a towering two-run homer. The real rally began in the sixth when five straight hits produced four runs. Spokane added a run in the seventh and in the eighth came up clutch.