Spokane Indians’ rookie Jake Skole – the first round pick of the Texas Rangers this past June – may have many opportunities to be the hero in his career, but in his first opportunity Tuesday against Boise, it wasn’t his night.
With Spokane (9-9) trailing by two in the bottom of the ninth, Skole pinch-hit for Ryan Strausborger with two outs and the bases loaded. Facing Hawks closer Corey Martin, Skole popped out to the shortstop to end the game, giving the Hawks (10-9) the 4-2 victory to salvage the final game of the three-game series at Avista Stadium.
“(Skole) has had a lot of good at-bats and hasn’t got a lot for them,” Spokane manager Tim Hulett said. “When you’re in that situation generally you fail nine out of 10 times, but you don’t tell your grandkids about the nine times you failed. You only tell them about the time you succeeded. He’ll forget that and go after the next one.”
Trying to earn their first sweep of the season, the Indians looked to be on track early, plating a run in each of the first two innings to give starting pitcher Juan Grullon a 2-0 lead in his first start in an Indians uniform. Putting them on the board first was third baseman Michael Olt, who crushed a 1-1 offering from Austin Kirk over the right-field fence.
“I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself or anything,” said Olt, who went 53 at-bats this season without a home run. “It was good to square a ball up and go with the pitch.”
The lead did not stand long, though, as Boise finally got to Grullon (0-1) for two runs on a two-run single by Alvaro Ramirez in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Two errors in the fourth inning led to the Hawks’ third run.
“We made a lot of errors and gave them a couple of opportunities early,” Hulett said. “They capitalized on a couple of them and we just couldn’t get things going.
“It’s been a good home- stand,” he added. “We’ve played well and hadn’t made a lot of mistakes. Tonight was pretty sloppy in the field for us and was probably one of the poorest games we’ve played in the field. We’re pretty solid all the way around, but sometimes you’re going to have games like that.”
Staked to a one-run lead with the run in the third, Kirk (2-2) went back to work and completely shut down the Spokane hitters the second time through the lineup. He finished with his second win of the season, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out three in five innings.
Three relievers then combined for four innings of two-hit ball, with the only additional danger coming in the ninth inning. Martin worked his way out of the bases-loaded jam, though, to earn his seventh save of the season.
Tuesday’s game offered a rare play in baseball, when in the fourth inning, Boise’s Wes Darvill hit a ground ball off the leg of field umpire Mike Cascioppo. Jurickson Profar fielded the ricochet and threw to first for the apparent out, but the ruling per the baseball rule book states the result of the play is a dead-ball single for the hitter. … Former University of Connecticut teammates Olt and Pierre LePage each homered during the series. Olt’s came Tuesday, while LePage hit a home run for the Hawks in Monday’s loss to the Indians.