Tai Tiedemann is the lone returner from Spokane’s 2017 rotation. The former high school quarterback from Long Beach Poly closed the last campaign strong, surrendering just seven runs in his last five starts last season, including a win on Aug. 28.
He continued that impressive performance in his first assignment this season.
Unfortunately, the bullpen didn’t fare as well behind him.
Boise batted around in a six-run seventh inning to blow open a previously close game and the Hawks defeated the Spokane Indians 9-3 before a Father’s Day crowd at Avista Stadium on Sunday.
Reliever Luis Rosario bore the brunt of the Boise attack. He allowed seven runs – five earned – on eight hits and a walk over 2 1/3 innings – including all six in the deciding seventh.
Tiedemann finished four innings with one run allowed on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He threw 32 of his 57 pitches for strikes.
A solid carryover from his strong finish to 2017.
“Good trend, for sure,” Tiedemann said. “I felt like my whole thing was getting a lot of my confidence back building off of last year.
“This first outing was huge to just be confident going into the remainder of the season.”
Manager Kenny Holmberg was impressed with Tiedemann’s performance.
“Very nice,” he said. “We wanted to establish a little faster tempo out of our starting pitching and stay consistent with that.
“He almost got too quick at times, but he was able to catch his breath, throttle down and make pitches in spots where he needed to.”
It didn’t start great for Tiedemann though.
Boise leadoff hitter Matt Hearn roped a double to the right field corner on the second pitch of the game. With one down, Daniel Jipping flied to center and Hearn moved over to third.
Tiedemann got ahead of Danny Edgeworth, but the Boise third baseman lined one to right that plated Hearn.
Luis Castro bounced one up the middle that avoided both Tiedemann and second baseman Juan Ventura to put two on, but Tiedemann came back to get LJ Hatch on a breaking ball off the plate.
“Season opener so just getting the little jitters out,” Tiedemann said of the first inning. “Other than that I felt real comfortable.”
The Indians (1-2) got that run right back, and a little more.
With two down in the bottom half of the first, Diosbel Arias reached on a single and Curtis Terry followed with a blast to right center that cleared the fence just to the right of the notch where the fence drops from 14 feet to 7 feet.
“It felt real good off the bat,” Terry said of the first Indians homer of the season. “I knew I was on him. Once he threw a ball over the heart of the plate I could just think center field and get the head (of the bat) out.”
“The homer to get us going after they scored was a big swing,” Holmberg said. “Gave us some momentum back.”
In the fourth, Arias (3 for 4, double, run) led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a deep fly to center by Terry. But Tanner Gardner and Starling Joseph struck out to strand Arias at third.
Meanwhile, Tiedemann cruised, giving up just two walks and no hits over the next three innings.
He gave way to Sean Chandler, a sixth-round pick of the Texas Rangers out of Iowa Western CC in this year’s MLB Draft, at the start of the fifth.
Chandler got his first two hitters, including a strikeout of leadoff hitter Hearn. But he lost Cade Harris on a close pitch, then hit Jipping. Holmberg went to get him after 17 pitches and brought in Rosario.
Boise cleanup hitter Danny Edgeworth greeted the new reliever with a line-drive single to right and Harris scored from second to tie the game at 2-2. Castro followed with a single that shortstop Tyler Depreta-Johnson couldn’t come up with to his right to load the bases.
But Rosario was able to coax a lazy fly to right from Hatch to end the threat and keep the game even.
Boise (2-1) took the lead in the sixth. With one down, shortstop Kennard McDowell smacked a line-drive double to right center. He took third on a long fly out and Rosario uncorked a wild pitch.
Catcher Kenny Mendoza pounced on it and might have had a play, but Rosario covering couldn’t handle the underhanded toss and McDowell was safe.
J.P. Martinez led off the bottom half with a bunt single. With one down he stole second, and then went to third on a long fly out. But Terry chased a ball off the plate for strike three to end the inning.
Boise went back to work on Rosario. Harris led off with a well-struck ball to right for a single and scored from first on Jipping’s double off the wall in right-center field to make it 4-2.
Edgeworth was intentionally walked and Rosario got Castro to fly out.
But Hatch singled to left and Jipping raced home and eluded the tag by Mendoza with a clever slide to the inside of the plate, while both runners moved up on the throw.
Jipping, a 2017 Northwest League all-star, has reached base eight times in 14 plate appearances so far this season.
Catcher Hidekel Gonzalez singled through the right side of a drawn-in infield to plate both runs and Boise busted open a 7-2 lead.
Depreta-Johnson watched a routine grounder by McDowell go between his legs. Martinez came up throwing from center but his attempt to nail Gonzalez at third was overthrown. Gonzalez scored easily and McDowell ended up at third.
Hearn bounced one up the middle and Ventura made the grab moving to his right, but the throw was tardy and it went as an infield RBI single and upped Boise’s lead to 9-2.
Harris, in his second at-bat of the frame, flied out to end the damage.
Mendoza suffered all the damage.
“You know what, he continued to pitch,” Holmberg said of Mendoza’s rough outing. “I think he got squeezed a little bit. But there’s some things that could have worked out better for him.
“He went out and he pitched, he took the ball and that’s what I appreciated.”
The Indians got one back in the eighth. Martinez walked with one down and showed off his speed, scoring form first on a two-out double by Arias.
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