East Divisional Series Preview

With an 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Canadians on Saturday afternoon – before one of the best crowds of the entire season, the Boise Hawks clinched a berth in the Northwest League East Divisional Series – meeting the Tri-City Dust Devils in a Best-of-3 match-up.

A four-run first inning was all the Hawks needed in the win – as Jean Sandoval and the bullpen continued an outstanding run, as Boise has allowed just 12 runs in the last six games, helping the squad win 5-of-6.  Ryan Cuneo had four hits, with Reggie Golden and Rafael Lopez each adding three hits in the clincher.  Hear Reggie Golden’s eighth inning homer and the final out here (http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/highlights9-3-11.wma).

It’s on to the postseason for the first time since the 2006 season, when Salem-Keizer defeated Boise three games to one (before the split season model was adopted).  The Hawks have not won a league pennant since the 2004 season, when they swept the Best-of-5 series with Vancouver.

In the divisional series, Tri-City will be a formidable opponent, as the Hawks have won 4-of-6 against the Dust Devils at Memorial Stadium, but have lost 5-of-6 at Gesa Stadium, though four of the five losses have been by three runs or less.  Tri-City has the best pitching staff in the league, with a team ERA at 3.07 – with Christian Bergman, Tyler Gagnon, and Ben Alsup expected to be their three-man rotation against the Hawks, the trio allowing eight runs in 26 innings this season against Boise.  The Hawks will have to keep catcher Ryan Casteel, who hit .414 with seven doubles and six RBI against Boise, and OF Brian Humphries, who had two homers and nine RBI against the squad, in check.

Jose Rosario gets the ball for the Hawks in Game 1 – having allowed just one earned run in nine-plus innings this season against the Dust Devils.  Knuckleballer Joe Zeller will get the nod at windy Gesa Stadium in Game 2, while Ben Wells, coming off his best outing of the season on Friday night, would pitch Game 3.    Top hitters for the Hawks against the Dust Devils this season have been Willson Contreras (11-for-34 with four RBI) and Ryan Cuneo (4-for-11, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI).

Game 1 is set for 6:45 p.m. at Memorial Stadium – with Hawkstown Tonight coming to you live at 6 p.m. on 1350 KTIK-AM.  Game 2 (and Game 3, if necessary) will be at 8:15 p.m. (MT), with our pregame report at 8 p.m.

Probable Pitching Matchups – Game 1: Jose Rosario (6-3 3.53 ERA) vs. Christian Bergman (7-5 2.59 ERA), 6:45 p.m.; Game 2: Joe Zeller (2-0 1.95 ERA) vs. Tyler Gagnon (4-3 2.57 ERA), 8:15 p.m. (MT); Game 3 Ben Wells (4-4 4.66 ERA) vs. Ben Alsup (3-3 3.23 ERA), 8:15 p.m. (MT)

In the Western Division, Vancouver earned the second spot in the postseason, after Everett lost their season finale at Spokane, 4-2, giving the C’s the berth with the second best overall record.  Vancouver hosts Eugene in Game 1 on Monday afternoon, with Games 2 and 3 in Eugene on Tuesday and Wednesday.

If the Hawks win the divisional set, they would either open at home Friday vs. Vancouver, or open at Eugene on Thursday night.

On another note – congratulations to our media relations intern, Laura Verillo, who will be moving on to a position with the New York Yankees…the team decided to give her a ton of props in a true baseball way – with Shaving Cream Pies after Saturday’s game…luckily, it was captured on video and you can watch it here.

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