KEIZER, Ore. — Mike Zunino is showing just why he was picked third overall in June’s amateur draft.
Zunino homered twice, leading the Everett AquaSox to a 6-2 victory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on Tuesday night in a Northwest League game.
Zunino, the Seattle Mariners’ first-round pick who joined the Sox last week, slugged solo homers in the second and seventh innings to account for Everett’s first two runs. The Sox then rallied afterward to snap a 2-2 tie. Zunino’s two homers came one day after he hit his first homer as a professional.
Marcus Littlewood added two hits and Ketel Marte drove in two runs for Everett (24-8), which inched ever closer to winning the West Division’s first half. The Sox lead second-place Eugene by 41/2 games with six remaining in the half.
Ryan Jones had two hits to lead Salem-Keizer (11-21), which was unable to take advantage of nine walks issued by Everett pitchers. The Volcanoes stranded 13 runners.
Before the game, Everett infielder Jean Acevedo announced his retirement. Acevedo batted .250 in 20 games with the Sox. Acevedo’s place on the roster was filled by infielder Keith Werman, who was called up from Peoria of the rookie Arizona League. Werman, an undrafted free agent signed out of the University of Virginia, batted .297 in 14 games with Peoria.
Fate was on Salem-Keizer’s side in the bottom of the first. With the bases loaded and two out, Rafael Rodriguez sent a routine grounder to short. However, the ball took a wicked hop over shortstop Chris Taylor, with two runs scoring on the single to give the Volcanoes a 2-0 lead.
Everett got one back in the top of the second when Zunino went the opposite way and put the ball out to right field for a solo homer, making it 2-1.
Zunino was at it again in the seventh. Leading off the inning, he pulled an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left for his second solo homer of the game, knotting it at 2-2.
The Sox continued to rally after Zunino’s homer. Singles by Littlewood and Janelfry Zorilla, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Mike Faulkner, put runners at second and third with one out. The Volcanoes brought the infield in, but Marte’s chopper was still able to score Littlewood from third with the go-ahead run. Zorilla later scored on a passed ball to make it 4-2.
Another Marte chopper in the ninth allowed Zorilla to score from third, then Jamodrick McGruder added a bouncer up the middle for an RBI single, upping Everett’s lead to 6-2.