One week ago, Spokane Indians outfielder Ryan Strausborger was hitting .224 with no home runs and one triple.
Those numbers are a distant memory, as the Indiana State University product has had the kind of week that any first-year professional would covet.
Strausborger homered, doubled and went 4 for 5 Friday night as his Indians opened a five-game home series against the Eugene Emeralds with a 7-4 win.
“Off and on throughout the whole season I’ve felt I’ve had bad luck, and I feel like it’s kind of starting to go my way a little bit,” Strausborger said after a game that drew a standing-room-only crowd of 6,853 to Avista Stadium.
Spokane improved its home record to 23-8. The Emeralds had been the only Northwest League team with a winning record against the Indians this season.
Strausborger has raised his batting average to .261 in the last five games by hitting 11 of 20 with three doubles, two triples and two homers.
“My swing is just starting to come around and I’m putting in more work in the (batting) cage,” Strausborger said. “I guess the ball is starting to look bigger every game.”
Strausborger, Spokane’s leadoff hitter, hit the second pitch from Mauricio Tabachnik (3-2) just fair to left field for his second homer as a pro. His first homer, Sunday at Salem-Keizer, was almost a carbon copy but pushed fair by the wind, Strausborger said.
Strausborger also stole two bases to give him 13 this season. He had 41 during his senior year with the Sycamores.
“I have to get on base, because that’s what I’m here for – my speed,” Strausborger said.
Spokane’s Jared Hoying continued his MVP-caliber season with two triples, two runs and an RBI. Hoying ranks in the top five in the NWL in batting (.321), runs (42), homers (nine), triples (five), RBIs (45) and stolen bases (18).
Indians starter Juan Grullon worked four effective innings (one earned run, five strikeouts), but he wasn’t eligible for the win.
Reliever Ben Rowen (1-0), the Indians’ submariner, earned the victory with two scoreless innings. Rowen lowered his earned-run average to 1.33.
The Indians’ outfield has taken a hit with injuries to Josh Richmond (thumb) and Jason Kudlock (leg). Richmond broke his left thumb while sliding into home plate during Monday’s game at Salem-Keizer. He said the injury will be re-examined on Sunday. Kudlock has been on the disabled list since Aug. 12 and hasn’t played since Aug. 4. … Spokane’s league-leading attendance eclipsed 140,000. … East Division second-half leader Yakima has taken a six-game lead over Boise in its quest to meet Spokane in the NWL divisional playoffs. The regular season is down to 16 games. … Spokane’s Kevin Rodland (knee) was a late scratch. … The Indians added free-agent pitcher Jorge Marban (Florida International) to their roster.