Tonight, Ben Hughes makes his Northwest League debut for the Tri-City Dust Devils. He went 2-2 with 6.50 ERA at Casper last season after being drafted in the 10th round out out of St. Olaf (Minn) University.
He'll go up against Everett right-hander Dylan Unsworth, a 19-year-old native of South Africa who went 6-5 with a 5.16 ERA at Pulaski, Va., the Mariners' rookie affiliate.
So far, not much offense. Hughes sets down eight in a row before walking Ketel Marte, the No. 9 hitter in the third. He still retired the side without a hit.
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Unsworth also pitching well for Everett. He also retired the first eight Tri-City hitters before Anthony Aguilera and Joey Wong hit back-to-back singles with two outs in the third. The Dust Devils couldn't bring them across.
Hughes gives up his first hit, a solo home run to left field by last night's hero — Chris Taylor — to lead off the bottom of the fourth. A brisk wind blowing from right to left definitely carried it the few extra feet it needed to clear the wall.
It was definitely a solid shot that would be out in any other park, but I think on a night with less wind, Gesa Stadium would have held that one.
Dust Devils OF Derek Jones leads off the bottom of the fourth with his first professional hit, a triple to the right center field wall. He then scored on a single to right by Francisco Sosa to tie the score at 1.
I'd be very interested to see how many players have a triple as their first professional hit. My guess is not very many. Obviously, most would be singles, but you'd certainly see a few doubles and even a handful of home runs.
A triple, though, is hard to come by.
Consider this: Jones had 227 hits in four years at WSU — 41 of those hits were home runs and 47 of them doubles. Just eight of them were triples.
So I'm sure his memory of legging out a three-bagger on a windy night at Gesa will always be a special one.
By the way, Happy Fathers Day to anyone reading this. I hope all you dads got appropriately spoiled today.
I gave my dad — Capt. Steve Millikin down in San Diego — a call today, and he was in good company with my sister Erin and his wife, Maren. I'll be down there soon, guys. Can't wait to see you.
Jason Schwartz, last year's radio play-by-play man is back in town. He's working for the Lancaster JetHawks down in the California League this season, but it's always good to see an old friend.
He's up in the booth, and I'll see if I can get him to say hello.
Right now, he's chatting it up with current Dust Devils radio man Chris King on KFLD 870 AM. Tune in if you get a chance.
Dust Devils put together a nice rally in the bottom of the seventh and score two runs.
Anthony Aguilera got things started with a two-out single to left. Joey Wong was then hit by a pitch, and Charlie Blackmon dropped in a single just over second base to drive in Aguilera. Good thing for Charlie, he had struck out in three previous at bats.
Then Jarod Berggren, in his return to the Dust Devils, drove a 2-2 curveball into right field to drive in Wong and give Tri-City a 3-1 lead.
Good evening everyone! Jason Schwartz here. Jack has pushed the computer in front of me so I guess it's my turn to type at a few thoughts...
Thrilled to be back at gorgeous Gesa Stadium - and I really do mean gorgeous. I miss this view and the sunset. Very few settings in the California League that compare to this one.
Watching this game tonight - and seeing the scores from the last couple nights - I'm reminded of how pitcher friendly the Northwest League is. You won't find these types of scores in the Cal League. For example, the Lancaster JetHawks have are averaging over eight runs per game with 16 home runs and a .326 batting average in 15 games this month. I don't think I saw that many homers hit in all of 2011 at Gesa Stadium.
Happy to report that last year's ace Christian Bergman is having a fantastic season with Modesto. He's currently off in Winston-Salem, NC representing the Cal League at the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. He is second in the league with eight wins and has a 3.18 ERA. Clearly his 2011 performance was for real.
Time to put Jack back to work... After all, I am on vacation. It's great to be back in Washington and I'm hoping the Dust Devils can finish the job and win their first title this year!
Thanks Jason. If there were an award for guest blogging, you'd be my pick.
Now time to wrap things up. The Dust Devils got some outstanding pitching tonight from Benjamin Hughes, who tossed six one-hit innings, giving up just a solo home run. Brook Hart came on for two scoreless innings before Will Rankin closed out the game with a perfect ninth.
A good solid 3-1 win for Tri-City (1-2), which remains tied with Yakima and Spokane for first in the Northwest League East Division.