Following a double-header split on Sunday against Port Angeles that completed a 4-game series split with the Lefties, the Pippins return to action at Yakima County Stadium tonight to open up a 3 game series with the Bend Elks. First pitch for game one is set for 6:35 PM PT, with Bend left-hander Gil Luna set to oppose Yakima Valley righty Mark Woinarowicz on the mound.
PIPPINS SPLIT TIGHT SUNDAY DOUBLEHEADER WITH LEFTIES: The Pippins needed strong pitching in a Sunday doubleheader with Port Angeles, and they got it, allowing just 3 runs in the two games, but split the doubleheader, and ultimately the series, with the Lefties. Jack Gonzales threw a complete game in the first game of the doubleheader as the Pippins pulled out a 5-2 win, striking out 5, and Aidan Welch added 3 hits in the victory. The Pippins scored all 5 runs in the fourth inning off of Port Angeles left-hander Nathan Bonck. In game two, a 2-1 win for Port Angeles, the Pippins got a strong start from Trystan Vrieling, who allowed one earned run over 5 innings, with zero walks, but Dwayne Angebrandt was even better for the Lefties, styming the Pippins over five innings of work. Early runs in the second and fourth innings pushed Port Angeles ahead, and they never trailed en route to splitting the doubleheader and the series, and pulling out the win in the season series, 4 games to 2.
FOR THE PIPPINS: Right-hander Mark Woinarowicz will make his fourth start of the summer for the Pippins to open up the series against Bend on Tuesday. The right-hander from Cal State East Bay has shuffled between the rotation and the bullpen this season, making his last three league appearances in relief. On the season, the Yorba Linda, California native has a 3-3 record and 4.76 ERA, striking out 22 batters and walking 5 over 28.1 innings of work.
FOR THE ELKS: Left-hander Gil Luna will start for Bend in the series opener on Tuesday, making his seventh start of the season. The reigning West Coast League Pitcher of the Week, Luna sits second in the WCL this season with 47 strikeouts in just 29.1 innings, but also leads the league with his 32 walks. Opponents have hit a paltry .152 off of the Casa Grande, Arizona, native, who allowed one unearned run over 7 innings in his last start at Wenatchee, walking 4 and striking out 12 to pick up his second win of the year.
A LOOK AT THE ELKS: 33 games into 2019, the Elks have an identical record to the Pippins at 14-19, but have already eclipsed their win total from all of 2018, when they won a league-worst 12 games. For the second straight year, Bend’s struggles have manifested largely from the pitching staff, which has a 5.31 ERA that is 3rd-worst in the West Coast League. On offense, the Elks sit middle of the pack in runs scored (160) and team batting average (.244).
AN AID TO THE OFFENSE: Infielder Aidan Welch had 4 hits on Sunday in the Port Angeles doubleheader, including a 3-hit game in game one. 4 of Welch’s last 6 games have been multi-hit games, and he has seven multi-hit games in his first 14 games with Yakima Valley this season. Welch leads all Pippins hitters with a .360 batting average, and has also added 5 RBIs.
A LOT OF DUDES: Within the past week, the Pippins have had three new players debut for the team in WCL play, brining their total number of players to appear in a game this season, through 33 games, to 46. Brothers Kyle and Tyler Dean, both position players, debuted early in the weekend against Port Angeles, while left-hander Anthony Alvarado made his season debut on the mound on Sunday. A litany of injures has led to larger-than-expected roster turnover early in the season.
ODDS & ENDS: The Pippins are on a 6-game winning streak against Bend, last losing to the Elks on July 27, 2017 in Bend…the Pippins had 2 pitchers named to the WCL All-Star Team on Tuesday, left-hander Jack Gonzales and righty Joe Magrisi…it is the first time since 2015 that two Pippins arms are All-Stars.