Knights get to Kuykendall in sixth, seventh
The Yakima Valley Pippins dropped their second straight game in their return to West Coast League play in Corvallis Wednesday, losing 6-2 to the Knights.
Seth Kuykendall started on the mound for the Pippins, and he looked to be on the way to repeating his last start in Wenatchee in which he allowed one run in eight innings. Through five on Wednesday, Kuykendall had needed just 51 pitches and had kept the Knights off the scoreboard with just five hits.
The Pippins took the lead when Taylor Holder launched a solo home run onto the bullpens beyond the left field wall in the top of the second inning.
In the top of the fifth, Sam Olsson stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. He hit a sharp grounder to Spencer Scott at shortstop, who tagged out the runner from second and through home, but Chase Graves slid around the tag at home to give the Pippins a 2-0 lead. They would not score again in the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Kuykendall walked his only batter of the game to start the inning, then allowed a single to Nick Vogt. One mistake pitch later, Kiko Romero drove a three-run home run over the scoreboard in right field to give the Knights their first lead of the game. Kuykendall settled back in and got out of the sixth without any further damage.
In the seventh, the Knights loaded the bases with a leadoff single and two bunt singles for Vogt. Vogt ripped a grounder to Blake Dickman, whose throw bounced and Sam Olsson could only block, not catch, the ball as the runner slid in safely. With the bases still loaded, Romero drove in two with a double to the left field corner, ending Kuykendall’s day.
Peysen Sweeney (0-1, 6.00 ERA) inherited two runners and added one of his own with a walk, but a double play got him out of the situation without another run. Case Matter (0-0, 6.75 ERA) pitched the eighth, setting the Knights down in order with two flyouts and a strikeout. Kuykendall (3-3, 3.29 ERA) was charged with the loss.
Knights reliever Bradley Mullan was the pitcher of record when Corvallis took the lead, so he was credited with the win. He lasted four innings without allowing a hit or getting charged with a run (he had inherited two runners before loading the bases and Olsson’s RBI fielder’s choice).
Hard-throwing lefty Ethan Ross finished off the ninth, walking one before retiring the next three batters in a non-save situation.
The Pippins look to avoid their first sweep of the season as they finish the first leg of their six-game road trip Thursday at 6:35 p.m. On Friday, the team will continue on to Port Angeles for their final three road games of the regular season.