Enter Shane Broyles.
The Tri-City starting pitcher tossed eight scoreless innings, and the Dust Devils salvaged the final game of their five-game series against the AquaSox with a 7-0 victory Sunday afternoon at Everett Memorial Stadium.
"That was clutch," Broyles said. "It's never good to come out and get swept. I guess we put up a fight and it ended up working out."
Everett had won seven straight, including the first four games of the five-game set, and the Sox had thumped Tri-City's pitching staff, putting 30 runs on the board in the process.
But Broyles brought Everett's offense screeching to a halt. The right-hander, who was the Colorado Rockies' 14th-round pick in this year's amateur draft out of Texas Tech, allowed just three hits and walked none during his eight innings. He fanned three.
"We have to tip our hats to their pitcher," Everett manager Rob Mummau said. "He did a nice job, shut us down for eight innings and kept us off balance all game."
Broyles was the picture of efficiency, needing just 84 pitches to get through his eight innings. After throwing 20 in the first inning, he barely worked up a sweat in the rest of his frames, needing fewer than 10 pitches in six of the next seven innings as the Sox put the ball in play early in counts. Broyles ended up with 13 groundball outs, and 13 of Everett's outs against Broyles came with the batter seeing two pitches or fewer.
"With this park, the right field is so shallow that I just wanted to make them put the ball on the ground," Broyles said. "For the right-handers I was going to go in and the lefties I was going to try and stay away. I did that for the most part and it ended up working out for me.
"I was just trying establish my fastball," Broyles added. "I was going in with it, they were being aggressive, and I ended up getting a lot of ground balls and quick outs."
Would Broyles have liked the opportunity to come out in the ninth and try for the shutout?
"That would have been nice, but I'm on a pitch count here," he responded. "I'm new to starting here, so it was great just to get eight innings out of what I had for a pitch count."
Francisco Sosa led Tri-City's offense, going 2-for-4 with four RBI. Snohomish High School graduate Derek Jones, Rosell Herrera and Zach Osborne each added two hits for the Dust Devils (14-16).
Taylor Ard and Janelfry Zorilla were the highlights of Everett's meager attack as both doubled. The Sox fell to 22-8.
For the fifth time in the five-game series Tri-City opened the scoring, this time with the aid of a pair of Everett mishaps. Osborne dumped a ball just in front of diving right fielder Alfredo Morales and headed to second. Morales recovered and his throw to second beat Osborne by a mile, but shortstop Ketel Marte dropped the ball and Osborne was safe. Osborne took third when Ard at first base booted Kyle Von Tungeln's grounder, then scored as Herrera bounced into a double play, giving the Dust Devils a 1-0 lead.
But unlike the first four games, Tri-City made this lead hold up. The Dust Devils doubled their lead in the fourth. Miguel De Leon doubled to left-center, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored when Jones' soft liner just got over third baseman Patrick Kivlehan, making it 2-0.
Tri-City struck again in the fifth. Sosa's sharp grounder bounced past the glove of a diving Kivlehan, with two runners scoring to make it 4-0.
The Dust Devils put it away with one more in the seventh, via Herrera's RBI triple, and two more in the ninth, thanks to Sosa's two-run double off the center-field wall.
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