In the opener, first baseman Taylor Ard was the offensive and defensive hero in Everett’s 6-3 seven-inning victory.
The 20-year-old Kim, a South Korean native, retired the first nine hitters he faced, eight via strikeouts. He lost a perfect game on an infield error to open the fourth inning. The only other baserunner he allowed was a one-out walk in the fifth.
Kim struck out the side in the second, third and fifth innings.
Spokane’s only hit in the second game was a one-out single to center in the seventh by right fielder Royce Bolinger.
In the opener, Ard went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run to lead Everett’s offensive attack. The Sox scored all their runs and bunched together all seven hits in the third and fourth innings of the seven-inning game.
The two hits hiked Ard’s batting average to a team-best .414 mark through the team’s first eight games.
“It’s still early,” said the 22-year-old Ard, a graduate of Prairie High School in Vancouver, Wash who later played at Oregon’s Mount Hood Community College.
“But no matter what level you’re in, college or pro, you just have to stay simple and don’t try to do too much. That’s what I’ve been doing, and I’ve caught a few breaks here and there.”
“He’s done a real nice job as far as stabilizing the middle of the order for us,” said Everett manager Rob Mummau of Ard, the team’s No. 3 hitter. “He gives us good at-bats each time. He’s not only a good power guy, but also a good hitter. He looks for his pitches to hit and doesn’t miss too often.”
Ard also turned in two defensive gems -- a long running catch down the right field line of a foul ball in the fifth inning and a tricky over-the-shoulder catch of an infield chopper followed by a snap throw to pitcher Oliver Garcia covering first in the seventh.
The tougher play, he said, was the seventh-inning chopper which he snared with a leaping stab. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a play like that,” he said. “I’ve had a fly ball over my shoulder, but not a ground ball where I then had to turn around and make the throw.”
“They were both good plays,” Mummau said.
The Sox also got a strong outing from starting pitcher Dylan Unsworth, a 19-year-old product of Cape Town, South Africa. Unsworth, a hard-throwing right-hander, shut out the Indians over five innings, then gave up three runs on back-to-back home runs -- back-to-back pitches, no less -- with two outs in the sixth, his final inning.
“Dylan’s a guy who works fast and throws strikes, and he did a good job of keeping their hitters off balance,” Mummau said. “He’s got a very nice feel for pitching and he’s just a big-time strike thrower. I like the way he goes out there and competes.”
As for the consecutive home runs, well, “sometimes he’ll maybe throw too many strikes,” Mummau said with a smile. “The hitters get comfortable up there and we have a smaller ballpark here. He left a couple of balls out in the middle of the plate and Spokane took advantage.”
Everett struck first in the opener with a three-run third. The Sox combined a walk, two singles and a double, while taking advantage of a Spokane error and two wild pitches.
An inning later Everett used a double, two singles and another double, and aided by another Indians error and another wild pitch, to push across three more runs.
Relief pitcher Oliver Garcia tossed a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his second save of the season.
Spokane manager Tim Hulett was ejected in the middle of the sixth inning, evidently for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. Hulett was also tossed in the second game, as was Spokane catcher Joe Maloney.
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