Five-Run 8th Propels Pippins to Comeback Win
YAKIMA, Wash. – For seven innings, Gresham GreyWolves’ starter, Robert Reaser (Lewis & Clark), dominated the Yakima Valley Pippins. In his 113 pitch outing, Reaser allowed just four hits while striking out seven, and kept hitters off balance all night long with his vast array of off-speed pitches. The Gresham relievers, however, did not do their part in supporting Reaser, as the Pippins used a five-run bottom of the 8th inning to storm back for a 5-3 win in their series opener on Wednesday night.
The game began as a pitcher’s duel, as Pippins starter, A.J. Landis (Colorado Mesa) and Reaser traded dominant frames for three innings. Gresham (5-8) finally broke through in the 4th inning, as Drew Curtis (Southern Illinois) launched a home run over the left field fence to give the GreyWolves a 1-0 lead. Gresham tacked on a run in both the 5th and 6th innings as well, and lead 3-0 entering the 8th inning, when Reaser was replaced by Dakota Weindell (Yakima Valley).
The Pippins (5-5) immediately took advantage of the pitching change, as Steve Sordahl (St. Martin’s) and Dillon Plew (Washington State) both roped singles to right field to give the Pippins runners on first and third base with no outs. Chase Wells (Seattle U) then hit a soft grounder to short that it seemed was going to turn into a force out at second base, but Plew, running hard, was ruled safe as the second baseman was pulled off the bag. After Sordahl scored on the play making it 3-1, Michael Wyatt (Columbia Basin) grounded into a double play, with Plew advancing to third with two outs. Brad Danziesen (Dixie State) then relieved Weindell and he walked the first batter he faced, Lucas Denney (Seattle U), and threw a wild pitch on ball four of the at bat to allow Plew to come home and make the score 3-2. After Tyler Bosetti (Nevada) pinch ran for Denney at first, Dustin Yates (Washington State) reached on an infield single to make it first and second, still with two outs, for Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois). Ellis, a switch-hitter, who had batted from the left side against the right-handed starter, Reaser, switched to the right against the lefty, Danziesen, and delivered, drilling a go-ahead two-run double down the right field line to plate both Bosetti and Yates and give the Pippins a 4-3 edge. Tyler Sandoval (Colorado Mesa) then tacked on an insurance run with an RBI double to score Ellis, and the Pippins had a 5-3 lead, which they took to the 9th inning.
Connor White (Columbia Basin) came on in relief for the Pippins and shut the door on Gresham with two strikeouts in the frame to record his second save of the season, and to preserve the Pippins’ 5-3 comeback win, which moved them back to .500.
Game Notes: Despite tossing seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts, Reaser earned a no decision. Landis also did not factor into the decision after his seven innings of work, allowing three earned runs while striking out five and not walking a batter. Liam Herlihy (Wenatchee Valley) came on in relief of Landis in the top of the 8th and pitched a scoreless inning to earn the win. Weindell recorded just two outs in the 8th for Gresham and took the loss.
Ellis, Sandoval and Plaia each had multi-hit games, with Ellis driving in two more runs to add to his team high 12 RBI total, which as of Wednesday, ranked tied for fifth in the West Coast League. Wyatt did not record a hit, marking the first game he has not hit safely in a game he has played in this season. The Pippins comeback from three runs down in the 8th inning was the first time they have won a game this season when trailing after the 5th inning. With the win, Yakima Valley stays three games back of Corvallis in the West Coast League South standings while Gresham has now lost five in a row and is now 4.5 games back.
What’s Next: Game two of the series is Thursday night with Pippins left-hander, John Fuqua (VMI), making his second WCL start against Gresham’s Ryan Ward (Washington State). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. at Yakima County Stadium.
ABOUT THE PIPPINS: The Yakima Valley Pippins compete in the West Coast League, one of the nation’s premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues. The Pippins play their home games at Yakima County Stadium (“The Orchard”) in Yakima, Washington. After winning 96 games during their first three seasons in the WCL, the Pippins set the mark as the winningest WCL expansion team after three years. Yakima County Stadium will play host to the 2017 West Coast League All-Star Game, along with an extensive 31-game home season for Year No. 4 of Pippins' Baseball in 2017. Read more online at PippinsBaseball.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube with #ThatWasAwesome.