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Sports >  Spokane Indians

Offense cools, Spokane Indians shut down by Hillsboro’s Ross Carter in 4-2 loss

UPDATED: Thu., June 16, 2022

The Spokane Indians started their longest homestand of the season with a pair of impressive hitting performances leading to two consecutive wins.

But on Thursday, they got in an early hole and the offense couldn’t bail them out.

Spokane starter Evan Shawver allowed two early home runs and the Hillsboro Hops made them stand up, beating the Indians 4-2 in the third game of a six-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium.

The win halted a 10-game losing streak for the Hops (27-31).

Shawver (0-4) settled down to go five innings, but on a night when the Indians’ bats were cooled by Hops starter Ross Carver (2-3), the damage was already done.

“I thought (Shawver) pitched better than the line indicated,” Indians pitching coach Ryan Kibler said. “Two bad pitch selections in the first. I thought the execution was OK, just the wrong pitch. And then he didn’t make many mistakes after that.

“I really liked how he persevered and that’s who he is. One thing that does need to be addressed is pitching with two outs. Finish innings.”

The Indians (30-28) trailed after five pitches. Hillsboro leadoff hitter Tim Tawa singled off Shawver, then AJ Vukovich homered to left field, his fifth of the season.

Shawver, who was promoted to Spokane from Low-A Fresno last month, may still be adjusting to the new level.

“It very well could be a level up in competition and talent,” Kibler said. “And then, Vukovich and Tawa, you got to execute pitches. You got to execute a couple of pitches against those guys.”

The Hops added to their lead in the second. Ramses Malave ripped a two-out double halfway up the wall in left-center and scored on a single by ninth-place hitter Jordan Watkins.

A solo homer by Danny Oriente in the third, his first of the season, made it 4-0.

Shawver lasted five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits, with a walk and three strikeouts.

“He had all three pitches going on both sides of the plate,” Kibler said. “He just didn’t get away with much. And the backup sliders that he did throw, which weren’t many, he paid for it.”

Zac Veen finally got the home team on the board in the eighth with a line-drive homer down the line in right, his eighth of the season. After the last road trip when Veen managed two extra-base hits in 39 plate appearances, he’s hit three home runs in the past three games.

“That’s what this game is all about, is making adjustments, and (Veen)’s definitely done that,” Indians acting manager Zach Osborne said. “He’s good at moving forward and moving to that next challenge.”

Hillsboro’s Carver was sharp. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ 20th-round pick in the 2021 draft from Dallas Baptist went eight innings and allowed one run on two hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts.

“He was pounding the zone pretty well,” acting manager Zach Osborne said. “We were aggressive to strikes but just kind of had some weak contact early in bats and you know, it’s kind of didn’t go our way.”Short night: With manager Scott Little away from the team on personal business, bench coach Julio Campos has been acting manager this week. Campos was ejected in the first inning Thursday after arguing a called strike three to Julio Carreras to end the inning.

Osborne, the team’s hitting coach, assumed the duties for the Indians. Despite the loss, he enjoyed his first experience as a manager.

“As much fun as you could have losing a ballgame,” he said. “Kind of a new experience for me. I usually stay in the dugout, so it was good getting out on the field and kind of doing some stuff.”

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