Jared Hoying’s first professional experience as a leadoff hitter came Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he batted No. 2 in the order but had the kind of night managers look for from leadoff hitters.
Hoying went 3 for 4 with one run and two stolen bases as the Spokane Indians dispatched the Vancouver Canadians 4-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their five-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium.
“(Tuesday) was the first time I’ve batted leadoff since probably grade school,” said the University of Toledo product. “I feel comfortable in that second spot because I’ve been there a lot throughout my career.”
The victory, Spokane’s eighth in 12 home games, allowed the Indians (13-12) to pull within one-half game of first-place Boise in the East Division.
Hoying’s infield single started Spokane’s two-run fourth inning off Deyvi Jimenez (1-2), who entered with the league’s third-best earned-run average (2.25). Hoying stole second and third bases, giving him a club-best eight swipes, and forced Vancouver (12-14) to intentionally walk Andrew Clark to try to set up a double play.
The strategy backfired as Hoying scored on Danny Lima’s single past diving second baseman Gernaldo Castillo, and Clark scored on Clark Murphy’s single off the glove of the leaping Castillo.
Castillo, however, robbed Hoying of his fourth hit with a diving stop in the seventh.
“I was trying to get some free pancakes there,” Hoying said of an IHOP promotion for players with four-hit games.
Leadoff doubles by Jake Skole in the seventh and Michael Olt in the eighth allowed Spokane to add insurance runs.
The game was a repeat matchup between Jimenez and Spokane’s Miguel De Los Santos, who faced off June 23 in Canada – a 2-1 Vancouver win in 10 innings.
“My first outing was with them and I was a little struggling,” De Los Santos said. “I just remembered what I did last time.”
De Los Santos (2-0) struck out eight and allowed two singles in five innings. He likely took over the NWL lead in ERA (1.23), having finally worked enough innings to qualify.
Brett Weibley, Justin Earls and Colby Killian closed the deal for De Los Santos, with Earls (1.17 ERA) pitching a hitless eighth and Killian earning his first save with a hitless ninth.
The Indians have held Vancouver to nine singles in the series. Spokane entered the night just behind Vancouver for the league lead in team ERA and boosted its NWL lead in strikeouts to 231.
The Canadians trail the league in runs scored (88) and are tied with Yakima for the worst road record (3-10).
But Vancouver leads the season series with Spokane 4-3.
Outfielder Josh Richmond joined the Indians’ roster. Richmond was a 12th-round selection in last month’s draft, out of the University of Louisville. … Indians saves leader Ovispo De Los Santos and catcher Yefry Castillo have been promoted to Hickory (N.C.) of the South Atlantic League. De Los Santos, with a fastball approaching 100 mph, had three saves and allowed no earned runs in 51/3 innings. With De Los Santos’ departure and the arrival of new starter Juan Grullon, former starter Zach Osborne has joined the b bullpen, throwing 42/3 hitless innings with eight strikeouts.