Strong Pitching Earns Indians Sweep Of Hawks - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Strong Pitching Earns Indians Sweep Of Hawks


Tim Hulett took a gamble in the latter stages of Saturday's early evening contest.

Rapidly approaching the ceiling of his pitch count, Collin Wiles rewarded the seventh-year manager by quickly inducing an inning-ending fly out to escape the fifth with the Spokane Indians' lead still intact.

Wiles barely lasted the minimum five innings required to qualify for a win, but pitched brilliantly for most of the night to lead the Indians to a 3-2 seven-inning win over the visiting Boise Hawks in the opener of a doubleheader. The Indians also won the nightcap, a 4-3 victory.

"He saved my bacon," Hulett said.

Wiles, the No. 53 overall pick in the 2012 first-year player draft, was given the opportunity to work through the trouble and get the win by Hulett, but he needed a little extra help from his defense to qualify for the win.

The final batter he faced, former BYU outfielder Jacob Hannemann, lifted a high fly ball to deep center. Chris Garia got a bit turned around but managed to make the catch falling onto his back. Wiles was also aided by a diving plays from Cam Schiller and right fielder Ryan Cordell.

The right-hander worked five innings of five-hit ball, striking out four and walking none. It was the first win of his Single-A career.

"My body felt good," Wiles said. "It was more just getting back into the compete zone. I almost got to a point of cruising early, obviously. They got some hits off me but our defense made plays all day.

"If it wasn't for Chris Garia on that last catch I probably wouldn't be talking to you now."

The offense provided early run support for Wiles. Ryan Cordell led off the second with a single and Janluis Castro followed with a walk. A sacrifice bunt by Alberto Triunfel put both runners in scoring position.

Marcus Greene then put the Indians up with a sharply hit run-scoring single through the left side and Gabe Roa followed suit, singling through the right side to bring home Castro.

Castro made it a 3-0 lead with an RBI double in the third.

Wiles set down eight straight until Jason Marra put a ball onto the top of The Depot beyond the right field fence with one out in the fifth. The righty did allow a two-out single, but was able to escape further harm with the help of Garia in center.

The Indians weren't out of the woods yet, though, as reliever Alex De La Cruz loaded the bases without an out on a pair of singles and a walk. Josh McElwee got Spokane out of the mess, though, as he struck out the first two he faced and induced an inning ending foul popup to the catcher.

McElwee did find trouble of his own in the seventh,  allowing a run on two hits and a walk, but he struck out Jacob Rogers with the tying run on second to end the game.

"Unbelievable feeling to get that first win -- that elusive first home victory," Wiles said. "That's incredible win for our team, that's big weight off our shoulders, for sure."

With a bit of momentum, the Indians started Saturday's second game with gusto, scoring four times in the first three innings. Hirotoshi Onaka had the big knock of the game, a two-run double in the second.

By the end of the third, all but one in the Spokane lineup had reached base safely. But the offense went dormant with a 4-2 lead after three innings. The Hawks retired the final 10 Indians of the game.

It was again good work by the Spokane pitching staff that came to the rescue. Eric Brooks and Michael Zouzalik both pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief. Brooks was credited with the win and Zouzalik received the save.

"It feels good," Hulett said. "I'm happy for the guys. They've been working hard, busting their tail. Tonight was not easy. It was a couple of tough games, but we held on and got a couple wins."