KEIZER, Ore. – Austin O’Banion drove in a pair of runs on a double in the fifth inning, giving Spokane the lead for good as the Indians went on to beat the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-3 in the first of a five-game Northwest League series at Volcanoes Stadium on Saturday.
The Indians (18-14) remain one game behind both Tri-City and Vancouver in the North Division with seven games left in the regular season.
Miguel Aparicio started the fifth with a single to right field and Chris Seise reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Orlando Garcia.
O’Banion then doubled to center field, sending home Aparicio and Seise to give the Indians a 4-2 lead. It was O’Banion’s only hit of the night.
The Indians immediately jumped out to the lead in the first with a leadoff home run by Aparicio, his fourth of the season.
Salem-Keizer answered in the following inning, beginning with Ryan Kirby’s leadoff single to right field. Indians starter Tyler Phillips gave up another single to Manuel Geraldo, driving in Kirby to tie the score at 1.
Geraldo stole second and took a 2-1 lead for Salem-Keizer on a throwing error by shortstop Seise on a grounder by Dalton Combs.
Phillips gave up back-to-back singles in the fifth and Salem-Keizer’s Logan Baldwin doubled to left field, sending home Shane Matheny to cut Spokane’s lead to 4-3.
The Indians added one more run in the eighth, beginning with Melvin Novoa’s double to left field. Jonah McReynolds replaced Novoa on second base and then scored on Cristian Inoa’s single to center.
Phillips (3-2) allowed three runs – two earned – on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts over seven innings.
Aparicio led the Indians at the plate, going 3 for 5 with an RBI.
The teams continue the series on Sunday at 5:05 p.m.