PASCO – If there’s another Spokane Indians pitcher in line for a promotion, it’s Ricky Vanasco.
The right-hander pitched five scoreless innings Saturday night as the Indians defeated the host Tri-City Dust Devils 4-0 at Gesa Stadium to remain in first place in the Northwest League’s North Division.
Vanasco improved to 3-0 in five starts with the Indians and lowered his ERA to 1.46. He allowed only two hits – singles by the Nos. 8 and 9 batters in the Tri-City order – and struck out nine. That gives him 36 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings this season. The only downside Saturday was the four walks he issued.
Vanasco’s dominance might cut short his time in the NWL, much like that of former Gonzaga University standout Sam Hellinger. The right-hander was promoted from Spokane to Low-A Hickory on Friday by the parent Texas Rangers’ organization.
Vanasco got all the help he needed before he took the mound, as the Indians scored three runs in the top of the first inning.
With one out, Tanner Gardner tripled to center field off Tri-City right-hander Angel Acevedo (0-2) and David Garcia followed with a run-scoring double, also to center. Kellen Strahm then lined a single to left to score Garcia. Strahm stole second base and scored on a two-out infield single by Luis Asuncion to make it 3-0.
The Indians added a run in the fourth as Asuncion walked with one out, stole second and scored on Jake Hoover’s double to left field.
Indians relievers Billy Layne Jr. and Nick Starr completed the shutout. Layne pitched two hitless innings with three strikeouts and Starr allowed one hit in two innings and also fanned three.
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