The Tri-City Dust Devils were on the brink of defeat Sunday night at Gesa Stadium.
Facing a 4-2 deficit in the ninth inning, they pulled off perhaps their most important victory of the season, beating Salem-Keizer 5-4 on Austin Allen’s two-out double to the wall in right center field.
Nick Vilter led off the ninth with a hard grounder to third which got by Miguel Gomez for a two-base error. Kodie Tidwell then drove him in with a single to center, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Justin Pacchioli walked to put the winning run on base. Salem-Keizer pitcher Caleb Smith was relieved by Andrew Suarez after Peter Van Gansen bunted both runners into scoring position.
Suarez struck out Jose Carlos Urena, the Dust Devils hottest hitter, buit put a 2-2 fastball in Allen’s wheelhouse, and the fourth-round draft pick out of Florida Tech made him pay.
Volcanoes centerfielder Julio Pena made a valiant dive for the ball at the wall but couldn’t come up with it, and Allen celebrated at second base.
The Dust Devils (17-14) remained one game behind Everett (18-13) in the North Division standings.
Around the league
The Spokane Indians (15-16) needed three runs in the ninth inning to beat host Boise (11-20). They remained two games behind Everett (18-13), which scored seven runs in the sixth inning in a 14-6 win at Hillsboro (18-13). Vancouver (12-19) put a 16-5 whipping on Eugene (16-15).
Tri-City first baseman Ty Prince made a nice scoop of shortstop Peter Van Gansen’s throw in the dirt in the sixth inning. ... Volcanoes third baseman Miguel Gomez ventured into foul territory with one out in the top of the sixth and caught Mitch Morales’ pop fly just outside the field-level seats to keep the tying run at second base.
Streaks & stats
Tri-City: Jose Carlos Urena had two hits to raise his average to .301 and extend his hitting streak to seven games. He has also reached base in 22 consecutive games. ... . Salem-Keizer: Miguel Gomez hit in his 14th straight game and racked up his 15th multi-hit game of the season. ... Julio Pena’s seventh-inning infield hit extended his hitting streak to six games. ... Caleb Smith, a hard-throwing left-hander, had one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings Sunday, bringing his season total to 18 in just 9 1/3 innings.
The San Diego Padres assigned LHP Brandon Fry, an 18th-round draft pick in 2013, to Tri-City. Fry was 1-2 with a 7.40 ERA at Fort Wayne (Ind.), the Padres’ Class-A team in the Midwest League.