Alvarados Shutout Sparks Pippins in Penultimate Home Game
YAKIMA, Wash. – Anthony Alvarado (Columbia Basin) did not know he was going to start Sunday night’s game for the Yakima Valley Pippins until he arrived at the ballpark earlier in the day. It did not seem to matter to the left-hander, however, as Alvarado threw a complete game shutout, allowing just a pair of hits while getting a bunch of early run support from his offense as the Pippins beat the Port Angeles Lefties 8-0 to take the first two games of the series.
The Pippins (24-23, 11-9) got their bats going in the first inning once again, this time against Port Angeles starter, Eli Fultz (West Texas A&M). After a Steve Sordahl (St. Martin’s) leadoff walk, Jonny DeLuca (Oregon) singled before Dillon Plew (Washington State) also walked to load up the bases with just one out for Lucas Denney (Seattle U). Denney proceeded to rip a two-run single into right field to plate Sordahl and DeLuca for the game’s first runs. The Pippins were not done in the inning, however, as Daniel Cope (Cal State Fullerton) walked before Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois) reached on an error by the shortstop which plated Denney to give the Pippins a three-run first inning. Nick Plaia (Cal Baptist) followed with an RBI groundout to score Cope and give the Pippins a four-run first inning.
In the third inning, the Pippins were at it again, as Cope began the frame with a single before Plaia and Tyler Bosetti (Nevada) were both walked to load the bases with one out for Sordahl, who proceeded to ground into a fielder’s choice to plate the first run of the frame for a 5-0 lead. Tora Otsuka (San Diego) followed by lining a single into left field to score Plaia, making the score 6-0. DeLuca then provided what turned out to be the final runs of the game, lining a two-run double down the left-field line to give the Pippins an 8-0 advantage.
Alvarado kept the Lefties (16-32, 6-15) off balance all night, facing the minimum number of hitters through seven innings (the first 21 batters). He also did not allow a hit until the top of the fourth inning and had a stretch from the fourth inning until the seventh where he retired ten in a row.
For the night, Alvarado induced three double plays and recorded seven flyouts and 11 groundouts. He walked four, including two in the ninth inning, but ultimately recorded one of his three double plays to erase the baserunner before finishing off the complete game with a harmless fly-out to preserve the Pippins’ 8-0 win and their first shutout of the season.
Game Notes: Alvarado, who was making his first start of the season, earned his second win to improve to 2-1. The performance was especially impressive given that he entered the outing with an 8.27 ERA and had allowed four runs in 1/3 innings of work his last time out on Wednesday against Bend. The complete game was the second of the season for a Pippins pitcher, as Gabe Taylor also threw a complete game in Wenatchee on June 13. It was also the seventh complete game in Pippins franchise history, but just the third complete game shutout. Gavin Velasquez threw the last complete game shutout on July 8, 2016 at Corvallis. With two complete games thrown this season, the Pippins match the Kelowna Falcons for the most in the WCL.
Denney drove in RBI’s number 33 and 34 on the season and also drew two walks to bring his total to 24. It was the sixth time this season he has drawn two or more walks. DeLuca recorded his fifth three-hit game, matching Sordahl for the most on the team this season. He is now riding a seven game hitting, during which he has collected back-to-back three-hit contests.
What It Means: With the win, the Pippins are now a 1.5 games back of both Corvallis, whom do not play again until Tuesday, and Cowlitz, whom snapped their five-game losing streak with a win over Victoria. The Pippins also maintain their half game overall lead on Cowlitz, a crucial note that could determine a tiebreaker scenario if Corvallis wins the second half.
What’s Next: The Pippins will go for the sweep and play their final regular season home game of the season on Monday night. The Pippins have a chance with a win tomorrow to match their best home mark for a single season in franchise history. They are currently 16-10 at home and went 17-10 in their inaugural season of 2014.
Right-hander A.J. Landis (Colorado Mesa, 2-3, 3.95 ERA) is set to make his tenth start of the season for the Pippins against Port Angeles right-hander, Trayson Kubo (Stephen F. Austin, 1-3, 4.63 ERA) who will make his second start.
Landis has been very good of late for the Pippins, having allowed just four runs in his last 18 2/3 innings of work.
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.