Dust Devils open Salem-Keizer series with win

Tri-City HeraldJuly 18, 2013 

When you’re hot, you’re hot.

Lately, Tri-City Dust Devils starter Ryan Warner has been matching the region’s blazing temperatures with his pitching.

The 6-foot-7 Colorado Rockies’ prospect turned in another in a string of outstanding starts Thursday in the Dust Devils’ 5-3 Northwest League win over Salem-Keizer in front of 2,172 fans at Gesa Stadium.

Warner (2-1), a third-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2012 out of Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs, allowed just two runs on five hits through 61⁄3 innings to pick up his second win in his last three starts.

The former Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Colorado in 2012 also lowered his ERA to 3.40.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play and get some ground balls. My defense did a great job making plays tonight,” Warner said.

The second-year pitcher was also pretty happy with the run support he’s been getting lately.

In his first five starts this season, Warner got 1.74 runs per nine inning of support from his teammates. But over his last two games, the Dust Devils (16-18) have scored at a rate of 9.6 per nine innings.

“It’s huge. You get comfortable with that kind of run support,” he said. “It makes you feel really confident.”

He had a lot of people to thank Thursday night, including Patrick Valaika (2-for-5, run scored, two RBIs) and Julian Yan (2-for-4, two RBIs), another promising Rockies’ prospect who joined Tri-City last week.

“Both those guys are getting acclimated to their surroundings,” Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor said. “They’re really playing in the moment.”

Another player who seems to have found himself at Gesa Stadium is Kyle Von Tungeln, a 2012 NWL all-star with Tri-City who is hitting .294 in 11 games with the Dust Devils this year.

He went 1-for-2 and scored two runs — both coming in the first two innings while Tri-City built a 5-0 lead in the second.

After Von Tungeln walked to lead off the first, Valaika doubled him home to put the Dust Devils up.

Salem-Keizer starter Joe Kurrasch (2-3) retired the next two batters before giving up an RBI single to Alec Mehrten and a two-run triple to Yan.

Kurrasch took the loss, allowing four runs in his only inning of work.

Four Tri-City relievers — Marc Magliaro, Huascar Brazoban, Shane Broyles and Trent Daniel — held Warner’s lead, allowing one run over the final 22⁄3 innings. Daniel collected his sixth save.

“The biggest thing is we’re not going outside of our skill set,” Saylor said.

Notes: It was a nightmare of a game for Dust Devils’ trainer Casey Pappas. First, catcher Wilfredo Rodriguez was hit in the left wrist on an errant third-inning throw from Volcanoes’ second baseman Ty Ross and later had to leave the game. Then, Sean Dwyer had to leave the game after banging his face in the dirt while sliding into third base in the bottom of the fourth inning. To top it off, Cesar Galvez was nearly struck by a Wilson Soriano foul ball while in the on-deck circle.

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