The Tri-City Dust Devils suffered their fourth defeat in the last five games Wednesday at Gesa Stadium, a 2-0 loss to the Everett AquaSox.
It was the third time this season the Dust Devils have been shut out. It was the fifth time in the team was held under five hits. It was also the night Tri-City (5-8) dropped into last place in the Northwest League’s North Division, six games behind the league-leading AquaSox (11-2).
Still, the Dust Devils aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“Everybody wants to get out to a good start,” Tri-City shortstop Alec Mehrten said. “We talk in our meetings about grinding out at-bats, and I think we’ll find our groove.”
The Dust Devils got a potential scoring opportunity in the first inning, when Everett starter Lars Huijen hit Wilson Soriano to lead off the bottom of the first inning. But Soriano got caught leaning too far off first and was picked off by Huijen.
Huijen picked up the win despite hitting two more batters. But he was otherwise solid, allowing just four hits over seven scoreless innings. Aaron Brooks earned his second save in as many days with a perfect ninth inning.
The AquaSox got their runs in the top of the seventh, when Jamodrick McGruder was hit by Tri-City starter Johendi Jiminian to lead off the inning and scored on D.J. Peterson’s double to right center. Peterson then scored on a bloop single by Austin Wilson to make it 2-0.
Jiminian pitched well enough to earn the win, giving up two runs on five hits over seven innings, the longest outing by a Dust Devils’ starter this season. Marc Magliaro and Trent Blank followed with two scoreless innings of relief.
“He mixed his pitches really well,” said Mehrten, who went 1-for-3 to raise his average to .313.
The night was not without its bright spots, especially on defense. Dust Devils right fielder Wilson Soriano gunned down Everett’s Phillips Castillo trying to take third after a routine popup. Soriano made another highlight-reel catch in center the night before, making a diving catch on a low, sinking liner.
Soriano’s defensive play is among the positive things keeping the team’s hopes alive.
“I think we’re close. The games we lose, we only lose by a couple of runs,” Mehrten said. “On the nights we’re hitting, the pitching is off. On the nights we’re pitching well, our hitting is off. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”