BOISE – Alexander Ovalles hit a three-run home run to cap a five-run first inning and the Spokane Indians held on for a 6-5 victory over the Boise Hawks in Northwest League baseball action on Monday night.
Boise starter Zak Baayoun (0-5) retired the first two batters in the first inning, but Blaine Crim reached base on an error by Hawks shortstop Ezequiel Tovar and that opened the floodgates. Luis Asuncion singled to put runners on first and second and David Garcia drilled an RBI single to put the Indians (10-8) on the scoreboard. Jonah McReynolds singled to right to plate Asuncion and move Garcia to third then Ovalles followed with his first home run of the season to make it 5-0.
The Hawks (8-10) pulled within two with a three-run second inning off Indians starter Theo McDowell, but just one of the runs was earned. Nic Laio (4-1) took over for McDowell in the fifth and allowed one unearned run in three innings of work, striking out five, to pick up the win. Werner Leal allowed one run in the final two innings to notch his fourth save. It was only the fourth earned run allowed by Leal, who sports a 0.80 earned-run average this season.
Spokane scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the sixth. McReynolds walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Ovalles’ single to center field.
Crim went 2 for 5 on the day to raise his average to .354. He trails only Vancouver’s Yorman Rodriguez (.369) in the race for the NWL batting title.
Spokane will try to complete a three-game sweep over the Hawks tonight before returning home to host the Vancouver Canadians, currently in last place in the North Division, on Wednesday night.
The Indians are tied with the Tri-City Dust Devils (10-8) for the second-half lead in the North. Spokane has already assured itself a spot in the playoffs by winning the first-half title.