From the nine-hole Tuesday, Matthew Acosta led the charge in keeping the Class A Short Season Dust Devils’ season alive.
San Diego’s 12th-round pick belted a two-run homer and scored twice to help pilot Tri-City to a 6-0 win over Hillsboro at Gesa Stadium in Game 4 of the best-of-5 Northwest League Finals. The teams will play a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday.
Acosta helped make some noise in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs and Luke Becker on first base, the 21-year-old crushed a long ball over the fence in right-center field to put the first runs of the game on the board. It was Acosta’s first career postseason big fly and his third as a professional.
He grounded out to end the fourth, while his teammates showed some patience at the plate the next inning. Reinaldo Ilarraza and Jordy Barley drew walks off lefty Liu Fuenmayor to begin the frame, and Logan Driscoll grounded into a forceout that sent Barley to the dugout.
The Hops turned to Yan Sanchez, who issued three consecutive walks that brough in a pair of runs. The right-hander exited in favor of righty Justin Garcia, and Nick Gatewood lofted a sacrifice fly to center that plated Kelvin Melean to increase Tri-City’s lead to 5-0.
Acosta led off the next inning with a single to left and quickly advanced to second on a wild pitch by righty Jake Polancic. After Ilarraza walked and Barley beat out a bunt single, Driscoll floated a sacrifice fly to right that brought in Acosta with the final run of the game.
Three Dust Devils hurlers linked up for the shutout. Southpaw Jason Blanchard allowed one hit and two walks while striking out three over three frames to start the game. Righty Wen-Hua Sung notched the win after fanning three over two innings and lefty Ethan Elliott whiffed seven batters in the final four frames for the save.
The decisive Game 5 will take place at 10:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday in Tri-City.
Jordan Wolf is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @byjordanwolf.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.