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Volcanoes Get GROTTOed

June 23, 2004 - Northwest League (NWL) - Spokane Indians News Release

SPOKANE, WA – The Spokane Indians (4-1) got some late inning heroics to knock off the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (2-3) by a score of 7-6 in front of 3,891 fans at Avista Stadium. Behind the bats of Tug Hulett and Mike Nickeas, the Indians came out on top in a tightly contested, back-and-forth contest. The Indians and Volcanoes exchanged runs over the first three innings, before Spokane plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning to take an early 4-1 lead.

Hulett, son of twelve-year Major League veteran Tim Hulett, got the Indians offense rolling in the 4th with a two-run single to plate Bobby LeNoir and Brandon Cashman. Despite leaving seven runners on base through the first four innings, the Indians still held a 4-1 lead after four frames. Hulett finished the game 3-for-4, scoring two runs and driving in three more, stealing a base in the process.

The Volcanoes responded by scoring five of the game’s next six runs to take a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom half of the 8th inning. Clay Timpner and Jeff Palumbo led the Salem-Keizer charge for the second straight nigh, picking up key base hits to produce runs for the Volcanoes. Timpner’s triple in the 7th cut the Indians lead to one run, but he came around to score to tie the game at six apiece. Kevin Fransden’s ground ball to shortstop plated Timpner to tie the game, giving him three RBI in the game.

An unearned run off of Indians reliever Marcos Herrera (1-0) by the Volcanoes in the 8th gave them a short lived 6-5 lead, one that Aaron Sobieraj (0-1) would quickly relinquish. A Tug Hulett walk set the table for Nickeas’ late game heroics. Although Timpner was the first person to christen The GROTTO in last night’s game, Nickeas will go down in Indians history as the first Spokane Indians player to touch down in the GROTTO. Nickeas blasted a Sobieraj offering into the short porch 296 feet away in right field for his first professional home run. The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket gave the Indians the lead, and ultimately the victory in what is shaping up to be a thrilling five-game, GROTTO filled series. Nickeas, making his first appearance in and Indians uniform, was brilliant in his professional debut, going 3-for-5 with three runs batted in.

The Indians looked to Jarrad Burcie to preserve the victory. The Tarleton State product came in to toss an unconventional 1-2-3 ninth inning to register his first save of the season. After yielding a one-out walk, Burcie induced the pitcher’s best friend with a game-ending double play.

The Indians and Salem-Keizer will square off for the remaining three games of the home stand that runs through Friday. Don’t forget to get to the ballpark early tomorrow, because the first 1,000 fans and all Bank of America Diamond Club members will receive a free Spokane Indians Cap, courtesy of Pepsi, Arby’s, and the Inlander. Great seats are available for the remaining three games in the home stand and can be purchased by calling the Indians Ticket Office at (509) 535-2922.

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