Despite solid performances on the mound from Tom Scheffler (Wenatchee Valley College) and Tanner Inouye (St. Martin’s College), the Pippins fell on Opening Day to the Walla Walla Sweets by a score of 3-2 in front of a crowd of 2,386.
Scheffler had a hard time finding his control in the first inning as he walked three of the first four batters to load the bases with one out. Sweets catcher Josh Prizina (University of Nevada, Reno) followed with a shallow base hit to left field that scored a run but also got the final two outs for the Pippins in the process. Zach Penrod (Northwest Nazerene University) was on second and decided to stop at third. Matt Elser (Los Angeles Mission College) was at first base and he blew past second and made his way to third, only to realize that Penrod was at the bag. Elser was tagged out and Penrod broke for home and was also tagged out. Scheffler was able to escape the inning with a bizarre double play and he settled down from there, posting zeros from the second through the fifth inning.
Bryce Moyle (WSU) toed the rubber for the Sweets and was efficient, tossing six innings on just 76 pitches. The only blemish came in the third inning when Sam Mitchell (MSU Billings) hit a two- out two-run single to score Andrew Schleusner (MSU Billings) and Tyler Hollow (Dixie State), both of whom got aboard on singles.
The Pippins held a 2-1 lead until the sixth, when the Sweets were able to get to Scheffler again. The first three batters of the inning reached, followed by a sacrifice fly from Elser and a RBI fielders choice from Prizina to take a 3-2 lead which would be all the Sweets would need.
Inouye would relieve Scheffler in the seventh and put together a dominant three innings. While usually pitching to contact, Inouye struck out seven and gave up just two hits and gave the Pippins a chance to make a comeback.
The offense would have a few more chances to tie the game or take the lead with a runner stranded at third in the seventh and runners stranded on the corners in the eighth.
Carson Woolery (MSU Billings) came in to close out the ninth and retired the Pippins in order to preserve the 3-2 Sweets win.
The Pippins will look to get their first win of the season in the second game of the series. First pitch at 6:35.
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