PORTLAND, Ore. – The Yakima Valley Pippins pitching struggled and the offense could not carry the load in an 11-4 loss to the Portland Pickles at Walker Stadium on Sunday, dropping the three-game, second half-opening series on the road.
The Pickles (2-1, 11-18) jumped on top of Pippins (1-2, 12-17) starter Nick Brown early, tagging the right-hander for a run in the first inning and four more in the second inning, led by a homer from leadoff man Chase Luttrell, who homered in consecutive games in the series. With a 5-0 lead after two innings, the Pickles – who scored 2 runs combined in the first two games of the series – rode the momentum to an easy win to take the series.
The Pippins made things interesting early off of Pickles left-hander Michael Perzan when they struck for 3 runs in the top of the third inning. Back-to-back singles from Noah Andrews and Tanner Parker set the stage for Ty DeLancey, who singled home a run with the bases loaded, and Brady Hormel, who brought home a second run on a groundout. The Pippins were able to tag Perzan for 3 runs in 3 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks, but scored just once more, in the ninth inning, off of four Portland relievers.
Portland really broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth off of Pippins lefty Mark Finkelnburg, a Portland native. Everett Lau, a left-handed hitter, took a Finkelnburg fastball to dead center field for a three-run homer, and Finkelnburg was unable to complete an inning in his first relief appearance of the summer, allowing four runs on four hits. Brown, who took his third loss of the season, allowed 5 earned runs over 1.2 innings of work.
Portland’s two four-run innings, the bottom of the second and the bottom of the fourth, were especially crushing as the Pickles scored all eight of those runs with two outs. Perzan picked up his third win of the season for Portland. Patrick Hubbs, Daniel Naughton, Christian Ciuffetelli, and Conner Thurman combined to allow one unearned run in relief.
Every single hitter in the Portland lineup, including substitutes, collected at least one hit and scored a run. Gabe Skoro led the way with 3 hits, while Jonathan Kelly went 2-for-4. Aidan Welch (2-for-4) and DeLancey (2 hits before being substituted) had the only multi-hit performances for the Pippins.
After an off day on Monday, the Pippins return home to the Orchard on Tuesday to begin a 9-day, 10-game homestand. The homestand begins with three non-league games, beginning with the showcase team from the Cascade Collegiate League on Tuesday at 6:35 PM. Bo Henderson will start for the Pippins in the game, which will be broadcast at pippinsbaseball.com/live beginning at 6:20 PM with Miles Klotz on the call.
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