KELOWNA, B.C. – The Kelowna Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning of play and never looked back, cruising to an easy, 11-1 win over the Yakima Valley Pippins in the second game of a three-game series at Elks Stadium in Kelowna on Thursday night.
The Pippins’ starter Bo Henderson struggled on the mound in a spot start, walking 8 batters over 3.1 innings of work, and that allowed Kelowna to burst out to an early lead. Henderson walked 3 batters in the first inning and two in the second, and the Falcons turned that into five early runs.
The Pippins offense struggled mightly in the first eight innings of the game, mustering just four hits off the starter-reliever duo of left-hander Nick Nygard and right-hander Tucker Grote. Nygard earned the win, his second of the season, after not allowing an earned run over 5.1 innings, striking out five and allowing three hits and three walks. Grote entered with the bases loaded and one out, but was able to induce a double play to keep the Pippins off the scoreboard at that point.
For the Pippins, Darius Garcia entered in relief in the fourth inning, making his first appearance in nearly three weeks since returning from injury, and served up a 3-run homer to Ezra Samperi to push the Kelowna lead to 10-0, but settled in from there and did not allow another earned run over his 2.2 innings of relief. Eddy Pelc added a scoreless inning in his mound debut for the Pippins, and infielder Tanner Parker tossed a scoreless 8th inning in relief.
The Pippins scored one run in the 9th to avoid being shutout. Aidan Welch reached on a one-out walk against Kelowna reliever James Shimashita, stole second, and later scored on an RBI single from James Bell. That would be the only run the Pippins would manage.
The series concludes on Friday with a 6:35 PM scheduled first pitch at Elks Stadium. The Pippins will start All-Star left-hander Jack Gonzales, while Kelowna will throw right-hander Blake Tritch. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz begins at 6:20 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.