PASCO – Nick Gatewood had three hits, including a pair of solo home runs, and Reinaldo Ilarraza added three hits and two RBIs as the Tri-City Dust Devils closed out the regular season with a 7-3 victory over the Spokane Indians in Northwest League play on Monday night.
Tri-City (38-38) jumped on Indians starter Justin Slaten (0-2) for two runs when Logan Driscoll homered with a man on in his only inning of work.
The Indians (45-31) cut the deficit in half in the top of the second on Francisco Ventura’s RBI single. But the Dust Devils added a run in their half of the second on Gatewood’s first homer and two more in the fourth on a Gatewood homer and a wild pitch by Spokane reliever Theo McDowell to go up 5-1.
Ilarraza’s two-run triple plated in the sixth made it 7-1.
Spokane scored twice in the top of the ninth on Randy Florentino’s two-run single.
The Indians open their divisional playoff series against Tri-City on Wednesday at Avista Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Game 2 is Thursday at Gesa Stadium in Pasco at 7:15 p.m. and Game 3 – if necessary – is Friday in Pasco at 7:15.
The Dust Devils secured their spot in the playoffs after taking two games from Vancouver last week. Tri-City had one NWL year-end all-star: second base Kelvin Melean. The 20-year-old hit .313/.400/.407 for the Dust Devils this season with one home run, 27 RBIs and five stolen bases.
TC’s top starter this season has been Ethan Elliott. In 12 games – all starts – he hasn’t earned a decision but over 35 2/3 innings the 22-year-old lefty has allowed just seven earned runs (1.77 ERA), 27 hits and just four walks while striking out 38. Elliot has allowed multiple runs in just two starts.
The Indians received reinforcements from the Texas Rangers’ championship-winning Arizona League team this week.
Players promoted included third baseman Davis Wendzel, the Rangers’ Competitive Balance pick in this year’s MLB Draft and ninth-rated prospect. The 22-year-old out of Baylor hit .444/.545/.889 in four games for the Rangers in Arizona before his promotion.
Also added to the Indians’ roster was shortstop Osleivis Basabe, the Rangers’ No. 18 prospect.
Basabe hit .325 for the Rangers in 35 games in the Arizona League.
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