Extra-inning games haven’t been kind to the Spokane Indians this season.
It was more of the same as Spokane let opportunity after opportunity slip away and dropped a 2-1 Northwest League decision in 13 innings to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in front of 6,857 fans Friday night at Avista Stadium.
The setback dropped the Indians to 0-9 in extra-inning games. Spokane fell to 13-18 in the second half, 25-44 on the year.
“We’re 0-9 and in most of those games we’ve put guys on base and had lots of chances,” manager Tim Hulett said. “We do have one walk-off win but it was a hit-by-pitch, it wasn’t even a hit.
“But I like what the guys have done in the second half.”
Hulett had to love what starting pitcher Connor Sadzeck did against the Volcanoes (15-16). The 6-foot-6, 220-pound right-hander didn’t allow a hit in six innings. He entered the game as the NWL leader in walks issued, but he only allowed two free passes and struck out four.
“The key was just throwing strikes and trying to get ahead early,” said Sadzeck, who has only allowed 11 hits in 34 innings pitched at Avista Stadium.
“Connor has worked hard this year and he struggled through a lot of starts,” Hulett said. “One of the things tonight was when he didn’t make a good pitch he was able to bounce back with a quality pitch and that’s a good sign of development for him.”
After stranding a couple of runners on base in each of the first two innings, the Indians got on the board in the third when Ryan Rua doubled and scored on Preston Beck’s two-out single.
Salem-Keizer got its first hit on Mac Williamson’s single in the seventh off reliever Cody Kendall. The Volcanoes scored the tying run in the eighth on Kentrell Hill’s two-out RBI single.
Spokane advanced runners to third base in the ninth and 10th innings but couldn’t come through with a timely hit. The Indians loaded the bases in the 12th, but S-K second baseman Ryan Jones made a diving catch on Joe Maloney’s line drive that appeared to be headed for right field.
“He hit a rocket and it was practically in the outfield before the guy dove and got it,” Hulett said. “You can’t ask for a guy to do much more than that.”
Spokane’s Carlos Melo (1-2) pitched well in his four-plus innings, but departed with the bases loaded and one out in the 13th inning.
Shawn Blackwell walked Hill on five pitches, forcing in the go-ahead run. Blackwell retired the next two batters and Spokane mounted one last rally in the bottom of the 13th.
Singles by Smerling Lantigua and Gabriel Roa put runners on first and third, but Volcanoes reliever Tyler Mizenko struck out Patrick Cantwell to end the game.
The Indians had 12 hits but left 17 runners on base. Salem-Keizer finished with five hits and stranded seven runners.