SPOKANE, Wash. - Hans "Solo" Crouse threw seven dominant innings and the Indians defeated the Eugene Emeralds 2-1.
On a night of Star Wars celebration, it was only appropriate that a man named Hans took the mound. Hans Crouse (W, 2-1) kept hitters off balance all night by mixing speeds and locating with precision. He turned in the best performance of his young career. The 2017 second round pick, and number four prospect in the Rangers' organization, finished the night throwing seven scoreless innings. He struck out 11 Emerald hitters, walked none, and retired the final 17 batters he saw. Crouse lowered his ERA from 3.38 to 2.21 and has not given up an earned run in 12 innings at Avista Stadium this season.
The Indians offense got on the board early in support of Crouse. Julio Pablo Martinez led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle. After a Jax Biggers walk, Diosbel Arias knocked in Martinez with a base hit to center to give Spokane the early 1-0 lead. For Arias, his .354 average is fourth in the NWL.
The score remained 1-0 until the seventh, where the Indians picked up a much needed insurance run. With two outs and nobody on, Tyler Depreta-Johnson laced a double into the right center field gap. Isaias Quiroz followed with an RBI knock to give Spokane a 2-0 lead. That extra run would prove to be the difference.
Things got a little tense in the ninth. After pitching a scoreless eighth, Cole Uvila came out for the ninth, but gave up a lead-off homer to Gustavo Polanco to bring Eugene within a run. Uvila would depart after a one out walk to Fernando Kelli. Kenny Holmberg called upon his closer Emmanuel Clase (SV, 4) to shut the door. He got some help from his battery mate. Representing the tying run, Kelli took off for second base, but Isaias Quiroz was having none of it. He gunned down Kelli for the second out of the ninth and Clase would strike out Luis Diaz to end the game.
Game four of this five-game series between the Indians and Emeralds continues Saturday night.