Shane Broyles and Kyle Von Tungeln know what it takes to win in the Northwest League, having played a full season with the Tri-City Dust Devils in 2012.
Both were re-assigned to the Dust Devils last week, and both have played significant roles in Tri-City’s recent success.
Von Tungeln, a 2012 NWL All-Star outfielder, and Broyles, who led Tri-City starters in wins (5) and ERA (3.69), were back at it Wednesday night, helping the Dust Devils top the Hillsboro Hops 4-1 in front of 1,384 fans to kick off a five-game NWL series at Gesa Stadium.
Von Tungeln hit an RBI double — his third extra base hit in as many nights — and scored two runs, and Broyles struck out five batters in three perfect innings to give Tri-City its fifth win over the last six games.
Before the pair arrived — Broyles from Asheville and Von Tungeln from Modesto — the Dust Devils had lost five in a row and 10 of 12.
“There’s definitely a ton of ability here. There’s a lot of guys from different colleges learning how to play together. It takes some time to get used to the pro game,” Von Tungeln said. “It’s about doing the little things here.”
Broyles struggled at Asheville, going 1-9 in 15 starts with a 6.94 ERA, but he looked like his old self on the hill at Gesa Stadium. He retired nine batters in a row after coming in to relieve starter Sam Moll (1-1) to begin the sixth inning.
“It’s definitely different for me coming in to close ballgames. I enjoy the adrenaline rush,” Broyles said. “It’s good to come back here and start winning games. We’re here to help them however we can.”
Broyles finished his night by striking out the side in the eighth inning before Trent Daniel came in to pitch a perfect ninth to earn his fourth save. Daniel, the Colorado Rockies’ 17th-round draft pick out of Arkansas, earned his fourth save to tie former Dust Devil Trent Blank for the league lead.
Hillsboro (7-19) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning after leadoff man Zach Esquerra walked and scored on a grounder by Randy McCurry.
But Tri-City came back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Von Tungeln walked to lead off the frame and scored on Chris O’Dowd’s triple down the right field line. Mike Tauchman then drove in O’Dowd with an RBI grounder.
The Dust Devils put two more across in the bottom of the eighth, when Von Tungeln doubled down the line in right to score Cesar Galvez, then scored when Hops’ first baseman George Roberts threw wide of first on O’Dowd’s sacrifice bunt.
That made it 4-1 Tri-City, which recorded it’s third win in 10 games this year at Gesa Stadium.
“The offense did a lot of good things. We ran the bases well, we maximized our opportunities and showed what we can do,” Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor said. “The biggest thing was we played consistently.”
Moll, the Rockies’ third-round draft pick out of Memphis University, picked up his first professional victory, allowing just one run on two hits over five innings to lower his ERA to 3.07.
Jack Millikin; 582-1406; email@example.com