Josh Richmond has a new secret weapon.
Richmond revealed the source of his power Thursday night after his grand slam and two-run double powered the Spokane Indians to an 11-2 win over Salem-Keizer.
“Noodleman needs to come back every game for me,” said the University of Louisville product, whose between-innings dance with visiting baseball clown Myron Noodleman gave the Avista Stadium crowd a few laughs.
There wasn’t much chuckling on the Volcanoes’ side. Wild starter Edward Concepcion (3-5) gave up Richmond’s homer and a three-run shot by Clark Murphy, and reliever Mario Rodriguez allowed Kevin Rodland’s two-run homer.
It was the Indians’ first three-homer night of the season and their first grand slam.
Spokane, which leads the five-game series 3-1, hit the midway mark of its season-high eight-game series at Avista, where the Indians are 19-7.
Concepcion, who leads the Northwest League with 32 walks, created most of his problems with off-the-mark pitches.
With the two out and the bases empty in the third inning, Concepcion walked Jurkickson Profar, hit Michael Olt with a pitch and walked Andrew Clark. Richmond drove a 2-2 pitch over the head of right fielder Ryan Scoma for two runs and a 2-1 lead. Murphy took the next pitch far away to right for a 5-1 advantage.
Murphy, playing before several family members, had his first homer of the season after hitting three for the Indians last season.
Concepcion opened the fifth with walks to Profar and Clark, with an Olt single between. The right-hander had Richmond down to his last strike before the slam cleared the wall in left.
“You have to go out there with patience and loose hands,” said Richmond, who couldn’t recall a slam during his college days. “(A pitcher) can be effectively wild, or the wildness can be to our advantage.”
Concepcion exited with Spokane leading 9-1. Rodriguez recorded two outs before Kevin Torres walked and Rodland caught up to a hanging slider for his first professional homer.
Rodland, of Snohomish, Wash., had two friends in town for the game and often plays in front of family and friends.
“It’s fun to play in the Northwest, because I’m used to it,” Rodland said. “It’s a blessing to play in front of people you know.”
Indians starter Randol Rojas (4-2), who entered the game with the NWL’s third-best earned-run average, pitched six strong innings and dropped his ERA to 2.28.
Volcanoes reliever A.J. Proszek made his first appearance in the series, holding the Indians to one hit in two innings while striking out two. Proszek, from Chewelah, pitched for Community Colleges of Spokane, Gonzaga University and the Spokane RiverHawks.
The Volcanoes’ roster changed drastically. Six players were reassigned, including four pitchers, and five players joined S-K from rookie league Arizona. … Jenna DeLong (Coeur d’Alene High), a pitcher for Drake University’s softball team in Des Moines, Iowa, threw out the first pitch.