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Streaking LeDarious Clark sparks Indians past Boise

Indians’ LeDarious Clark greets manager Tim Hulett as he circles the bases after one of his two home runs against the Hawks. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Indians’ LeDarious Clark greets manager Tim Hulett as he circles the bases after one of his two home runs against the Hawks. (Tyler Tjomsland)

LeDarious Clark was leading the Northwest League in just about every offensive category before Wednesday night’s game, so he muscled up to add another.

Clark finished 4 for 5 with two solo home runs as the Indians (12-9) completed a 4-1 Northwest League series win over the Boise Hawks (7-14) with a 9-0 rout at Avista Stadium.

Clark, hitting from the leadoff spot, joined Vancouver’s Sean Hurley as the league leaders with five homers and extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

“Right now I’m just feeling great,” Clark said. “The guys are on a roll right now and we’re trying to get a good streak going. I just want to be a spark at the top of the lineup and get the guys going.”

Clark finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, taking his shot in the sixth inning with a hard lineout to left field.

“I was trying to get it in the gap somewhere and I ended up hitting it straight to him,” Clark said. “So my last at-bat (an eighth-inning homer) I was going to hit the ball and wherever it goes, it goes. (The cycle) was in my mind, definitely.”

Clark also leads the NWL in batting average (.436), hits (34), runs (23), stolen bases (12), total bases (57), on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.731). His hitting streak is tied with Adam Fox (2003) for the second best by the franchise in the last 15 years. Royce Bolinger had a 23-game streak in 2012.

“He’s making it look awfully easy,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “Anybody who has played knows it’s not an easy game, but he’s been in a groove and he’s been in it for a while now.”

The Indians batted around during a four-run fourth to take a 6-0 lead. Ti’Quan Forbes, who finished 3 for 4, started the outburst with a one-out triple to right-center.

“He got down in the count in his first at-bat (in the second) and the guy threw a changeup and he got a base hit,” Hulett said. “I think that gave him a little confidence. And then he hit ball off the wall for a double (in the eighth).”

Spokane’s 7-8-9 batters, Forbes, Yeyson Yrizarri and Dean Long, were a combined 6 for 11 with four runs and five RBIs.

Indians starter Joe Palumbo (3-1) registered his third consecutive solid outing. The left-hander scattered three singles in five innings and lowered his earned-run average to 1.69. Palumbo has allowed one earned run in the last 17 2/3 innings.

“I feel like everything’s coming together really well and I’m happy with the way the team’s playing right now,” Palumbo said. “I felt like I had a couple of long innings, but I just tried to do everything I could tonight with my pitches.”

The Indians remained one game behind Everett (13-8) for the North Division lead.

The Indians will begin a five-game series at Hillsboro (11-10) tonight. Spokane is 3-2 against the Hops this season.

Spokane will return home Wednesday for a three-game set against Tri-City.

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