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 Tri-City Dust Devils

Tri-City Slugs Way to Second Straight Win

April 20, 2024 - Northwest League (NWL)
Tri-City Dust Devils News Release

Tri-City Dust Devils' Werner Blakely in action
Tri-City Dust Devils' Werner Blakely in action
(Tri-City Dust Devils)

The first home runs of 2024 by CF Werner Blakely and LF Jorge Ruiz broke open a strange ballgame Friday night at Hillsboro Ballpark, where the Tri-City Dust Devils (4-9) beat the Hillsboro Hops (5-8) by a score of 11-3 to even the series at two games apiece.

Blakely came up in the 6th inning with a man on and Tri-City leading 6-3, taking a 2-0 pitch high over the wall down the right field line for a two-run home run that stretched the Dust Devils lead to 8-3. The Detroiter doubled in his first at-bat, going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and two runs scored.

Ruiz's longball, a three-run home run on a 1-0 slider he went down and got, came an inning later and provided the final 11-3 margin. The blast was not only the lefty's first home run of 2024 but his first extra-base hit as well.

Tri-City's 11 runs and 13 hits set season-highs in both categories. SS Denzer Guzman put together his second three-hit night of the series. Also, 3B Ben Gobbel, RF Jadiel Sanchez and 1B Matt Coutney joined Blakely and Guzman with multi-hit games as part of the Dust Devils' most productive offensive output to date in 2024. In all, seven of the nine Tri-City hitters in the lineup scored at least once, with C Kevin Bruggeman walking and scoring twice.

The visitors also took advantage of another tough defensive night for Hillsboro, who committed five errors that allowed three unearned runs to score. Hops starter Ricardo Yan (0-1) went just 1.2 innings, giving up four runs (2 ER) on four hits. The fourth run, that handed Yan the loss, came on a 2nd inning throwing error on a delayed double steal. The home side has committed a total of nine errors in the last two games.

Starter Walbert Ureña went 4.1 innings for Tri-City, giving up three runs (all unearned) on only two hits and striking out five. Reliever Leonard Garcia (2-1) then came in and, after issuing back-to-back walks to load the bases, induced a double play ball to end the 5th inning and pitched a scoreless 6th to earn the win. The southpaw from Venezuela combined with fellow bullpen members Willian Suarez and Jared Southard to throw 4.2 innings of scoreless, no-hit ball to finish the game out.

The Dust Devils opened an early 2-0 lead via an RBI single by Ben Gobbel and an outfield error that allowed a second run to score on the play. The lead marked the first time Tri-City has scored first in a game in 2024, and the team recovered from allowing Hillsboro three runs in the bottom of the 1st to quickly grab the lead back and hold it the rest of the way.

Game five of the six-game set between the Dust Devils and the Hops gets an earlier scheduled start time of 4:05 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Hillsboro Ballpark. Right-hander Chris Clark (0-1, 4.09) will get the start for Tri-City, with Hillsboro giving the ball to a former Dust Devil, righty Cole Percival (0-0, 5.00). Percival made nine appearances for the club in 2023.

Broadcast coverage of Saturday's game will begin with the pregame show at 3:45 p.m, both here and on the MiLB app.

After the series the Dust Devils will return home for a two-week homestand starting Tuesday, April 23, against the Everett AquaSox. Tickets for the homestand are on sale now, with special ticket rates available for groups of 20 or more. For more information on Dust Devils single game, season, mini-plan (11, 22, 33) and group tickets, visit the team's official ticketing site,

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Tri-City Dust Devils' Werner Blakely in action
Tri-City Dust Devils' Werner Blakely in action


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