The Dust Devils worked hard Thursday night to turn a good thing into something better against the Everett AquaSox in front of 2,392 fans at Gesa Stadium.
First, the Dust Devils needed baserunners. Then, they needed to turn those into runs. They got both against Everett, the Northwest League North Division leaders.
Unfortunately, some late defensive mistakes prevented Tri-City from turning one of its top hitting nights of the season into a win in a 3-2 loss to the AquaSox in 11 innings.
Tri-City had 11 hits, just the third time the Dust Devils have broken double figures in hits this year. They also snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak with two runs in the top of the seventh inning.
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But it all fell apart in the top of the 11th after D.J. Peterson reached first on a bad-hop infield single that eluded shortstop Alec Mehrten.
The next batter, Justin Seager, hit a routine grounder to Mehrten, but the ball skipped between his legs for an error.
Peterson took third on the play and then scored on a wild pitch by Dust Devils reliever Huascar Brazoban.
"It was just a focus thing. That's going to happen," Tri-City manager Drew Saylor said. "But the next batter hit another grounder to him, and he made the play. That shows where he's at maturity-wise."
Brazoban (0-2) took the loss, allowing an unearned run on one hit over two innings.
"We fought all series. We've got a lot of high character on this club," Tri-City outfielder Mike Tauchman said after going 3-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. "It might not be showing in the results, but we're trying to step up."
Ricardo Pereira (1-1) picked up the win for Everett (12-2), which stayed four games ahead of Vancouver (8-6) in first place in the North Division. Tri-City (5-9) remained in last place, seven games behind the AquaSox and one game behind Spokane (6-8).
Tri-City got a big chance in the first inning against AquaSox starter Tyler Olson, as Mehrten hit a one-out infield single and took third on a pair of passed balls by Christian Carmichael. Wilfredo Rodriguez then walked to set up runners at first and third, but Michael Benjamin grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Dust Devils starter Ryan Warner also escaped trouble in the first inning after walking leadoff hitter Michael Faulkner. But he got a big boost from center fielder Jose Monzon, who made a running, over-the-shoulder catch on Peterson’s line drive. Warner then retired the side in order.
Everett took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth as Reggie Lawson — Everett’s No. 8 hitter — singled and stole second, then advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Ashley Graeter. Lawson then scored on a one-out grounder by Michael Faulkner.
The AquaSox got another run in the sixth as Peterson singled to lead off the frame and scored from first on Seager’s double down the line in left field.
Tri-City evened the score in the bottom of the seventh after Michael Tauchman singled to center to lead off the frame, then took second on a single by Patrick Hutcheson. Manager Drew Saylor then called for a double steal, putting both in scoring position.
Tauchman scored on a wild pitch by Olson and Hutcheson came in on a bases-loaded walk to Mehrten by reliever Tyler Wright.
Notes: The Dust Devils drew an impressive crowd of 3,254 on School Night Wednesday night. ... Tri-City is still looking for its first home run of the season.