Pippins Let Opportunities Slide in Loss to Corvallis
YAKIMA, Wash. – The Yakima Valley Pippins were out-hit twice in three games by the Wenatchee AppleSox in their previous series, and yet were able to win three straight. On Saturday night, the Corvallis Knights gave the Pippins a dose of their own medicine, as the Pippins collected 15 hits to the Knights’ 10, but stranded 13 baserunners and let a late lead slip away, in a 6-5 loss to Corvallis in the opener to their three game series.
After a pair of scoreless frames from each team’s starter, Corvallis (27-16, 10-6) got started in the third inning against Pippins’ right-hander, Kade Woods (Spokane Falls), pushing across three runs on three hits in the frame to take a commanding lead.
The Pippins (20-20, 7-6) were able to answer in the bottom of the frame, however, as J.T. Strickler (Lower Columbia College) began the frame with a double down the left field line and then came around to score on a Dillon Plew (Washington State) single compounded by a throwing error to cut the deficit to 3-1. A trend of leaving runners on began in the frame, though, as the Pippins ultimately stranded the bases loaded with two outs to keep it a 3-1 game.
In the fourth inning, the Pippins were at it again, this time manufacturing a run in bizarre fashion, as Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois) began the frame by reaching first base on a dropped third strike before Chase Wells (Seattle U) singled him in the cut the deficit to one at 3-2.
The Pippins did not stop there, as they kept the rally going in the fifth inning, a frame that began with back-to-back doubles from Jonny DeLuca (Oregon) and Lucas Denney (Seattle U) to knot the game at three. Bradlee Beesley (Cal Poly-SLO) then ripped a single into right-center to plate Denney and give the Pippins their first lead of the ballgame at 4-3.
The score stayed that way through the sixth inning, with solid relief work from left-hander, Anthony Alvarado (Columbia Basin), who came on with one out in support of Woods.
The seventh was a different story, however, as Corvallis plated two runs on three hits off Pippins’ reliever, Dustin Yates (Washington State), including a go-ahead RBI double from Darren Nelson (Cal Poly-SLO) to regain the edge at 5-4. The Knights than tacked on a crucial insurance run in the eighth inning on a wild pitch to stretch their lead to 6-4 heading into the ninth inning.
After Pete Minella (Western Illinois) came on and threw a scoreless frame for the Pippins, the bats came alive in the bottom of the ninth, with Beesley singling with one out before moving into scoring position on a wild pitch. Strickler then laced a single into left field to plate Beesley from second and make it a one-run game at 6-5. Ultimately, the rally ended there, as Tyler Bosetti (Nevada) popped out with the tying run on first base to end the game as the Pippins’ three-game win streak came to a close.
Game Notes: Woods went 5 1/3 innings in a bounce back outing, allowing three runs on seven hits and did not factor into the decision. In his previous four starts leading up to tonight, Woods held a 12.30 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 14 walks, including lasting just 2 1/3 innings on July 16 in his latest start against Bellingham, when he allowed eight runs on ten hits. Yates allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh and eighth innings and took the loss to fall to 0-1. Corvallis left-hander, Jacob Fricke (Western Oregon), pitched into the bottom of the seventh inning with the lead and earned the win to improve to 3-1. Jordan Qsar (Pepperdine), came on with two outs in the eighth, and allowed a run, but recorded the final four outs of the game to earn his second save.
Playing in just his second game with the Pippins, Strickler tallied a four-hit night, becoming the fourth Pippins player to do so this season. He also threw out a baserunner, meaning he has now caught three attempted basestealers in his two starts behind the plate. With two hits tonight, Beesley tallied his second straight multi-hit game. His last multi-hit outing until he collected two hits a night ago against Wenatchee came on July 3 against Kelowna, when he also hit his fourth home run.
The Pippins 15 hits were one below their season high of 16, which they set on June 29 against Bend. The 13 runners left on base by the Pippins tonight matched a season high. They previously stranded 13 on June 7 in a 9-6 loss to Bellingham.
What It Means: With the win, Corvallis remains 1.5 games back of Cowlitz, who won in dominant fashion over Walla Walla, in the WCL South second half standings. Corvallis has already clinched a playoff berth by virtue of their winning the first half.
With the loss, the Pippins are now three back of Cowlitz.
What’s Next: Game two of the series is Sunday night. The Pippins will send out right-hander, Will Adair (Cal Poly-SLO, 1-0, 2.84 ERA), for his first start of the season. Adair, who has appeared three times out of the bullpen so far will square off against Corvallis’ Jordan Horak (Portland, 4-1, 2.51 ERA), a left-hander who will be making his sixth start.
First pitch is set for 5:05 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, and won their 100th game on July 13, 2017, to become the third-fastest WCL franchise to reach 100 wins. Yakima County Stadium recently played host to the 2017 West Coast League All-Star Game and includes 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.