The Pippins offense came out hot early and the bullpen was able to quiet a late Cowlitz rally to send the Pippins to a 7-5 win over the Black Bears on Friday.
After a scoreless first, the Pippins broke out with four runs in the second. A walk, hit by pitch and a bunt base hit loaded the bases with no outs. Chris Arpan stepped up to the plate and ripped a double to left field, driving in two runs. Two batters later, Cole Jones drove in another run with a groundout. With two outs and Arpan still on base, Nick DiCarlo kept a ball just fair down the right field line for a double to score another run and extend the lead to 4-0.
The Pippins continued to play add on off of Black Bears starter Matt Gannon in the third with Cody Jefferis driving in two runs on a double. In the fourth, Cowlitz went to Joe Solomon and the Pippins grabbed another run on an RBI single from Kyle Dean.
The Pippins offense was shut down after the fourth inning run by a combination of Solomon and Cody Turner. Through the final five innings, the Pippins only had three base runners.
Chase Farrell got the start for the Pippins and rolled through the first four innings, allowing just four base runners.
Cowlitz started to chip away at the lead in the fifth. With two outs, Austin Bell launched a three run home run over the center field wall to pull the Black Bears within four. After a scoreless sixth, Cowlitz mounted another rally against Farrell in the seventh.
Dalton Mitchell lead off the inning with a single and Jonathan Hodo was hit by a pitch. After a fielder’s choice, a run would come in to score when Ryan Kim stole second to draw a throw from Victor Cerny. Mitchell was able to score from third when Cerny threw to second. Later in the inning, Blake Burton drove in a run to cut the deficit to just two runs.
Jack Gonzales came out of the bullpen in the eighth and immediately ran into trouble. Three of the first four batters reached base to load the bases with just one out. A deep fly ball to left off the bat of Kim would be the turning point in the game. Elijah Greene made the catch in left field for what should have been a sacrifice fly. Dalton Mitchell tried to go from second to third and was thrown out before Tanner Parker could score from third, resulting in a double play without a run, keeping the score 7-5.
In the ninth, Connor White reprised his closer role after some time in the rotation and worked around a bunt base hit and a walk to throw a scoreless ninth and seal a 7-5 Pippins win.
The victory snapped the Pippins two game WCL losing streak dating back to their series with the Wenatchee AppleSox.
The Pippins will look to win the series in game two on Saturday against the Black Bears. First pitch at 6:35.
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