Offense generates just three hits in loss
The Yakima Valley Pippins had a tough start to their six-game road trip Tuesday, dropping their series opener in Corvallis 7-1.
The Pippins (25-15, 10-6 in the second half) are now just 1.5 games ahead of Bellingham in the North Division, while the Knights (31-9, 13-3) increased their lead in the South to three games over Cowlitz and Ridgefield.
The Pippins loaded the bases to start the game with Spencer Marenco and Connor Coballes walking and Sam Olsson singling. All three runners would advance on a wild pitch, scoring Marenco and giving the Pippins a 1-0 lead to start the game.
The Knights answered in the bottom of the first inning, as Travis Bazzana singled and went to third ona base hit by Ethan Loveless. Nick Vogt grounded into a double play up the middle that allowed Bazzana to score and tie the game.
The Knights took the lead in the second when Riley Way laid a bunt down the first base line with runners on the corners. Pippins starter Tyler Frieders came off the mound to field it but couldn’t in time, and the runner scored from third base. They would add three more runs in the fifth on four hits.
Frieders (3-3, 4.22 ERA) was charged with the loss after allowing five runs on 10 hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out one.
A pitch-to-contact pitcher, Frieders induced a lot of weak contact that would drop into the shallow parts of the outfield or bounce between infielders. Of the 10 hits against him, none went for extra bases.
Payton Robertson (2-2, 6.28 ERA) pitched the final two innings for the Pippins, loading the bases but ultimately stranding all three runners in the seventh. In the eighth, Jake Hoskins hit the only extra-base hit of the night – a double – to drive in Way. Hoskins moved to third base on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Meanwhile, Corvallis starter Ty Uber settled in after the first inning. Over the next four innings, he walked two and allowed just one hit. Jake Vargas and Brett Gillis combined to allow just one other hit over the next four innings, walking two and striking out six.
The Pippins and Knights will play game two of the series Wednesday at 6:35 p.m.