Six Errors Stall Pippins Comeback Bid
YAKIMA, Wash. – For the second night in a row, the Yakima Valley Pippins out-hit the Corvallis Knights by five. And yet, for the second night in a row, a Pippins’ comeback came up short. Despite tying a franchise-record with 19 hits, which included six player tallying two hits or more, the Pippins fell 13-11 to Corvallis on Sunday, as the Knights took the first two games of the series on the road, setting up a chance for the sweep on Monday.
Facing Corvallis left-hander, Jordan Horak (Portland), the Pippins (20-21, 7-7) got started right away, as they plate a run in the first inning. After Dillon Plew (Washington State) singled with one out in the frame, Daniel Cope grounded a soft ball to the right side that was thrown away by Corvallis second baseman, Taylor Travess (Oregon), to plate Plew for the game’s first run.
After throwing a scoreless first inning, Pippins’ right-hander, Will Adair (Cal Poly-SLO), making his first start, ran into some trouble against Corvallis (28-16, 11-6) in the second, due to some lapses from his defense. After a leadoff single, Adair induced a few quick outs which brought up Corvallis’ Tyler Malone (Oregon State) with two outs in the frame. Malone proceeded to ground a chopper to Plew at third base, who tried to throw it to second base for a force play and his throw went wide of his target, Bradlee Beesley (Cal Poly-SLO), the Pippins’ second baseman who was covering the bag. The next Corvallis batter, Darren Nelson (Cal Poly-SLO), hit a ball sharply at Plew and it deflected off his glove into left field for another error to plate the first Corvallis run of the frame. The inning stayed alive and Corvallis took advantage, as they got back-to-back two-RBI hits to put up a five-run second inning and take a commanding 5-1 lead.
The Pippins answered right away, however, as after a Plew pop-out to begin the third, the Pippins produced five consecutive hits, which led to them tying the game with a four-run frame. First, Beesley singled, which was followed by a Daniel Cope (Cal State Fullerton) single. Lucas Denney (Seattle U) then ripped a double down the right field line to plate Beesley, before Steve Sordahl (St. Martin’s) drilled a triple into the right-center field gap to plate two more runs and make it a 5-3 game. Dustin Yates (Washington State) capped the rally with a single to right to score Sordahl and knot game at 5.
The score stayed that way only until the fifth inning, when the Knights broke it open again, this time using a four run frame to knock Adair out of the ballgame, before doing further damage to Pippins’ reliever, Grayson Jones (James Madison). After batting around, and begin helped by a few more Pippins’ errors, the Knights had plated four more runs to take a 9-5 lead. They then tacked on three more runs in the sixth, with two of them coming on the strength of a Dillan Shrum (Nevada) two-run home run off Pippins’ reliever, Anthony Alvarado (Columbia Basin) giving Corvallis a 12-5 advantage.
The Pippins began to chip away at the deficit in the seventh, when they got an RBI single from Denney to bring in Beesley, who singled to begin the frame, but the Pippins left two on in the frame. In the eighth, the Pippins got two more runs, on a pair of RBI hits from Tyler Bosetti (Nevada) and Beesley to make it a 12-8 game, but they stranded the bases loaded in the frame. In the top of the ninth, Corvallis pushed across an insurance run to make the score 13-8 heading to the last of the ninth.
The Pippins rallied immediately off Corvallis reliever, Cole Spear (UC Irvine), as pinch-hitter, Tora Otsuka (San Diego), ripped a single into left field to begin the frame. After a Yates strikeout, the Pippins then got a single from Chase Wells (Seattle U), before Bosetti singled again, this time bringing in Otsuka to make the score 13-9. Jonny DeLuca (Oregon) followed suit by singling through the left side of the infield to load the bases with one out for Plew, representing the tying run. Plew ended up grounding into a fielder’s choice, which brought in Wells to make it a 13-10 ballgame. With two outs and runners on the corners, Beesley then blooped a single into shallow center field to score Bosetti and make it a two-run game at 13-11. Cope, representing the winning run dug in, but could not continue the rally, as he grounded out to third base to end the game.
Game Notes: Making his first start for the Pippins and fourth appearance overall, Adair lasted 4 1/3 innings while allowing eight runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts and took the loss to fall to 1-1. None of the runs went as earned, due to multiple errors committed by the Pippins. Jones, a highschool teammate of Adair’s at Highland Park, made his Pippins debut with one out in the fifth inning and allowed two hits which resulted in two runs scoring, one of which he was charged for, although it was not earned. Horak pitched five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) en route to earning his fifth win of the season to improve to 5-1.
The Pippins tallied 19 hits tonight, matching a franchise record for the most in a single game for the third time. They most recently collected 19 hits on June 24, 2015 at Wenatchee. Interestingly, the Pippins only had two extra base hits, meaning they tallied 17 singles.
Unfortunately, the hits were not the only single game record the Pippins tied. They also matched a franchise record with six errors for the fifth time, a mark they reached most recently on June 19, 2016. It was the second time this season that the Pippins have committed five or more errors and the fifth that they have committed at least four. It was the first time that the Pippins had committed two or more errors in their last five games played.
Beesley, who until Thursday had not produced a multi-hit game since July 3, tallied his third consecutive multi-hit outing, as he collected four hits to become the fifth Pippins batter with a four-hit game this season. Denney’s RBI double in the third was his 13th double of the season, the third most in the WCL as of Sunday night. Wells has now tallied two multi-hit games in his last four contests after collecting three in his first 18 games played this season. With two hits and two runs batted in tonight, Plew earned his 13th multi-hit game of the season, and his eight with two or more runs batted in. He leads the team in both categories. The Pippins had six players with two or more hits, matching a season high.
Corvallis second baseman, Taylor Travess, collected five hits on the night in six at-bats, and became the second player in the WCL to record a five-hit game this season, joining Hunter Vansau of the Victoria HarbourCats, who accomplished the feat on July 8 against Bend.
What It Means: With the win, Corvallis stays 1.5 back of Cowlitz in the WCL South second half standings, who won their fourth straight earlier tonight. The Knights have now won consecutive road series against the Pippins as they won two of three when the two teams matched up last year from July 3 to 5. Corvallis also has a chance to become the first team to ever sweep the Pippins at Yakima County Stadium. The Pippins have been swept just twice on the road in their franchise history, including June 17 to 19 of this season at Kelowna.
With the loss, the Pippins are now four games back of Cowlitz in the second half, and two games back of the Black Bears in overall record, the tiebreaking factor should Corvallis win both halves.
What’s Next: The final game of the series is Monday night. Pippins’ right-hander, Taylor Dollard (Cal Poly-SLO, 5-0, 2.38 ERA), who limited Wenatchee to two runs (none earned) on three hits in their series opener on Wednesday will look to salvage a game for the Pippins against Corvallis’ right-hander, Louis Crow (San Diego, 0-1, 5.75 ERA).
First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. from 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.