Cullen Kafka pitched six strong innings allowing just three runs, but it wasn’t enough as the Pippins were shut out for the second time in three days by the Bells, 4-0.
After a quick first inning, Kafka ran into trouble in the second. After a groundout to start the inning, Connor Mack got aboard on an infield single. With two outs and Mack still at first base, Dusty Stroup hit a double to left field setting up second and third with two outs. On a 3-2 pitch, Michael Petrie lined a ball up the middle, scoring both runs and giving the Bells a 2-0 lead. Kafka would strike out Guthrie Morrison to get out of the inning.
Kafka rebounded after the second, holding the Bells scoreless in the third and fourth innings.
In the fifth, Michael Petrie lead off the inning with a groundball to third. Nick DiCarlo couldn’t handle the throw from Jake Moberg, which allowed Petrie to get all the way to second. A sacrifice bunt moved Petrie to third and Jordan Stoner followed with a groundball that scored the run. Kafka would strike out the side in the sixth before the Pippins turned to the bullpen in the seventh.
Nick Nastrini got the start for the Bells and coming into the game, had only allowed one run in his first seventeen innings this season. That success continued against the Pippins.
The Pippins had multiple opportunities to score against Nastrini. In the third, fourth and fifth innings, the Pippins had a runner at third and in the fifth, the Pippins had the bases loaded but couldn’t score. Nastrini would shut out the Pippins through six innings, allowing just four hits.
The Bells would grab another run in the eighth on a balk with runners at the corners and two outs.
In the ninth, Justin Armbruester struck out the side to seal a 4-0 Bells win, their eleventh win in their last twelve games.
The series continues on Saturday with Connor White tabbed for his first start of the season. First pitch at 6:35.