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Spokane Indians suffer ninth inning meltdown, lose to Hillsboro

By Johnathan Curley For The Spokesman-Review

Two runs scored on a ninth-inning error and the Hillsboro Hops (13-10) beat the Spokane Indians (8-15) 6-5 in Northwest League action on Friday at Avista Stadium.

Hillsboro’s Daulton Varsho led off the ninth with a double off Indians reliever Josh Advocate. Ismel Lopez was summoned, but issued a pair of walks to load the bases with no outs.

Jacob Rogers (L, 0-1) substituted for Lopez and walked the first batter he faced to force in a run to reduce the lead to 5-4.

The Hops’ Yan Sanchez followed with a ground ball to shortstop Josh McReynolds, but it ate him up and two runs scored.

Hillsboro reliever Erbert Gonzalez recorded the final three outs and earned the save for the Hops.

Spokane starter Tyree Thompson threw five innings and allowed two runs – one earned – on three hits, including a home run, with four walks and two strikeouts.

Prior to the first pitch, Hillsboro and Spokane engaged in a “standoff,” which resulted in two Hillsboro relief pitchers, Mitch Aker and Cal Becker, ejected after home plate umpire Chris Presley warned both teams to stop.

Hillsboro manager Shawn Roof was also ejected after he questioned why the Spokane relief pitchers who participated in the standoff were not ejected.

Hillsboro established a 2-0 lead after Eudy Ramos hit a two-run home run in the first inning.

Spokane retaliated in the second with a lead-off solo home run from Clay Middleton. Tyler Ratliff doubled to begin the fourth inning and scored on a groundout from Middleton to tie the game at 2-2.

Chad Smith blasted a two-run home run in the fifth to give the Indians their first lead at 4-2.

Hillsboro responded in the top of the sixth when centerfielder Tra’Mayne Holmes hit the fourth home run of the game to reduce Spokane’s lead to 4-3.

Holmes continued to antagonize the Indians by making two back-to-back dazzling diving catches in the seventh to prevent the Spokane offense from collecting extra bases.

Smith continued with his second home run of the game to lead off the eighth inning and expand the lead to 5-3. In total, Smith went 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs.

Indians reliever Josh Advocate threw three innings and gave up a run on two hits with no walks and one strikeout in his Northwest League debut.

The Indians and Hops will face each other for the third of a five-game series Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

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