One night after rallying from seven down, the Pippins blew a two run lead in the ninth to drop the middle game of the series to the HarbourCats 8-4.
Victoria jumped to an early lead in the first when Dustin Miller doubled in Nick Plaia for a 1-0 advantage.
Jack Gonzales got the start for the Pippins and had learned through Instagram earlier in the day that he would be starting. He hadn’t made a start since early July. After struggling with his control early, Gonzales settled down by getting a double play to end the top of the first. From there he was lights out, posting zeros in the second, third and fourth innings.
In the fifth, the HarbourCats were able to scratch across another run as Miller came up in the clutch with a two out RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0.
After being held scoreless through the first four innings by Gunner Friend, the Pippins offense broke through in the fifth with Tyler Lasch knocking in two runs with a single to tie the score.
After a scoreless sixth, the Pippins would take their first lead of the night in the seventh. After Gonzales put the finishing touches on seven innings of two run ball in the top half of the inning, having not thrown more than 4.2 innings in any appearance this season, the Pippins put runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom half. After a groundout and a shallow flyout, it was Kyle Dean who came up big with a two run single back up the middle to stake the Pippins to a 4-2 lead.
Connor White came in to throw a scoreless eighth but a missed opportunity for the offense in the bottom half of the inning turned the tide. The Pippins put runners at the corners with no outs and were poised to add an insurance run or two. Robert Ball would then ground out to third with a drawn in infield but Elijah Greene would be caught off the third base bag trying to gauge if he could score on the throw. The double play halted the Pippins rally and gave the HarbourCats momentum heading to the ninth.
White came back out for the save and immediately ran into trouble. The first three men reached on two singles and a hit by pitch when Harrison Spohn tried to set down a bunt. After a strikeout and a sacrifice fly brought the HarbourCats within one, White got to 1-2 on Miller and was a strike away from ending the game. On the next pitch, Miller doubled into the right field gap which scored two and put the HarbourCats out in front 5-4. Victoria would score three more runs to build an 8-4 cushion.
Tyler Yoshihara threw a scoreless ninth for the HarbourCats to send the Pippins to an 8-4 loss, snapping their two game winning streak.
The Pippins still have a chance to take the series in the finale Thursday on Fan Appreciation Night. First pitch at 7:05.
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