While the Tri-City Dust Devils basked in the glow of their 9-4 win over Yakima on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 3,759 at Gesa Stadium, Matt Argyropoulos and Derek Jones celebrated the power of Pullman.
The pair of former Washington State University stars combined to drive in six runs during an impressive offensive display that featured seven extra base hits by the Dust Devils.
“It kind of brought us back to what we were doing in college. He was in the fourth spot, and I was in the five hole,” Argyropoulos said after going 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored.
Jones had one hit, but it was a big one — a two-run triple in the first.
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“It’s always good to see him get it going again,” Argyropoulos said.
A day after watching the Bears run wild on the bases with five triples and two doubles, it was the Dust Devils who did the leg work with five doubles and two triples.
“Today we swung the bats as well as we have all season,” Tri-City manager Fred Ocasio said. ”(Argyropoulos and Jones) did a good job with runners on base. Hitting is contagious, and we had a lot of guys come through.”
The Dust Devils (21-27 overall, 4-7 second half) didn’t gain any ground on first-place Boise (7-4 second half), which beat Spokane 6-2, but gained a game on Spokane (6-5) and Yakima (5-6).
Tri-City didn’t waste any time getting things going offensively in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man Kyle Von Tungeln sliced a triple down the right field line, Rosell Herrera reached on a throwing error by Yakima third baseman Mark Ginther and Tom Murphy walked to load the bases.
Argyropoulos stepped up with one out and drove a 1-2 pitch from Daniel Watts into right field for an opposite-field single, scoring Von Tungeln and Herrera. Jones followed that with a two-run double to the wall in left center field to make it 4-0.
Yakima struck back against Dust Devils starter Tyler Gagnon, who served up a three-run home run in the top of the second to Ginther that cut the lead to 4-3.
Zach Osborne — the No. 9 hitter for Tri-City — led off the bottom of the second with a double to right center and scored on another double to the wall in right center by Von Tungeln, pushing the lead to 5-3.
Gagnon (2-2) made it through five innings, allowing four runs on six hits to earn the win. It wasn’t his best start of the year, but the Dust Devils certainly gave him a comfortable cushion to fall back on.
Watts (2-4), who took the loss, was replaced by reliever Blake Forslund with one out in the third after giving up a leadoff double to Osborne and a walk to Von Tungeln.
Forslund was greeted with a “twilight” double by Murphy that came off the bat and disappeared into the darkness in left field. Yakima outfielder Joe Loftus never saw the ball, which dropped near the wall 25 feet behind him as Osborne scored easily.
Forslund then walked Francisco Sosa to load the bases and hit Argyropoulos to drive in Von Tungeln and push the lead to 7-3. Jones followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Murphy for an 8-3 lead.
Murphy, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games, added an RBI single in the seventh. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
Von Tungeln reached base in all five trips to the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of walks and scoring three runs.
Notes: The starting pitchers for today’s rubber game are RHP T.J. Oakes (0-1, 4.59 ERA) for Tri-City and RHP Austin Platt (0-1, 27.00) for Yakima. ... The NWL announced that it would resume the NWL All-Star game in Everett in 2013. The NWL last held the All-Star game in 2004 at Spokane to commemmorate the league’s 50th anniversary ... The Dust Devils auctioned off the jerseys they wore Friday night, with benefits going to Autism Awareness. Two jerseys — the No. 32 worn by Tri-City pitcher Shane Broyles and the No. 1 of Tri-City Americans owner Olie Kolzig — shared the highest bid at $250. Other top bids included Dust Devils manager Ocasio’s No. 28 ($225) and C Murphy’s No. 43 ($150). The auction raised a total of $1,666 for the charity.