Joseph Scott’s first hit as a professional player was a home run last year in Missoula.
His second pro homer came Saturday night at Avista Stadium and started the Tri-City Dust Devils toward a 9-5 win over the Spokane Indians.
Scott had a succinct message for his teammates when he returned to the dugout after the third-inning solo shot.
“I came in and said, ‘Don’t get used to that, fellas,’” said the 23-year-old second baseman.
That gives Scott two homers in 159 at-bats as a pro, and a career batting average around .210, but the Indians (0-2) have seen enough of his bat during the first two games of the Northwest League season.
Scott is 4 for 6 in the series, with two walks, and would be 5 for 6 if Indians shortstop Jurickson Profar hadn’t robbed him of a hit in the eighth. Scott’s grounder glanced off third baseman Daniel Lima’s glove to Profar, who made a strong throw from deep in the hole.
“The third baseman tipped it and gave (Profar) a little bit of extra help, or I would have been safe,” Scott joked.
Scott played four seasons at Cal State Fullerton and was drafted in the 42nd round last year by the Colorado Rockies. He started pro ball with the rookie league Casper (Wyo.) Ghosts, but ended the season playing for the Dust Devils in the NWL championship series against Salem-Keizer.
Scott started this season one level higher, at Asheville (N.C.), but his playing time withered when other infielders came off the disabled list.
He and his teammates are feasting off the Indians, with 29 hits in two games. Carlos Martinez, who homered during Friday’s 6-1 win, went 5 for 5 on Saturday. Leadoff hitter Nathan Hines is 5 for 9 in the series and No. 3 hitter Leonardo Reyes has four RBIs.
The Dust Devils are also using well-seasoned starting pitchers. On Friday, fourth-year pro Parker Frazier limited Spokane to one hit in five innings. On Saturday, 25-year-old Josh Sullivan allowed a leadoff single to Ryan Strausborger and retired the final 12 batters he faced.
Indians starter Nick McBride, 19, making his pro debut, worked four efficient innings. He allowed three earned runs, but he could have wiggled out of the third – with just Scott’s homer as a blemish – by cleanly fielding Martinez’s two-out grounder toward the mound. McBride deflected the ball, allowing for no play at first base, and Reyes followed with a two-run double.
Spokane showed some life after T-C took a 7-0 lead. Profar hit his first pro homer, a two-run shot to right in the sixth, and Jason Kudlock hit his first homer as a pro in the seventh.
Indians manager Tim Hulett argued during T-C’s two-run ninth after Jared Simon was initially called out at home while attempting to score from third on Dustin Garneau’s fly to center. The out call was overruled because Indians catcher Kevin Torres bobbled the throw home from Strausborger.
The Indians are expecting left-hander Chad Bell, a 14th-round selection in last year’s draft, to join the team today. Bell signed last August out of Walters State (Tenn.) Community College and will make his professional debut with the Indians.
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