After falling on Saturday night to Victoria, 9-1, to drop the first two games of a three-game weekend series, the Pippins close out the first leg of their Canada road trip today with a Sunday afternoon game against the HarbourCats from Royal Athletic Park. First pitch is set for 1:00 PM, with right-hander Trystan Vrieling to start for the Pippins, opposite Victoria righty Mitch Lines. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz on pippinsbaseball.com/live begins at 12:45 PM.
PIPPINS PITCHING FALTERS LATE, VICTORIA TAKES SERIES: In a game very similar to the series opener on Friday, the Victoria HarbourCats brought out the bats late to take advantage of Yakima Valley Pitching and claim a win on Saturday, 9-1, thus clinching the three-game weekend series. Joe Magrisi, the Pippins right-hander, struggled for the first time all season, as the HarbourCats hit him around in the 6th and 7th innings to the tune of eight earned runs on ten hits, 3 walks, and 13 strikeouts over 6-plus innings. Entering the day, Magrisi has allowed just two earned runs in 28.1 innings, but his 13 strikeouts were also a season-high. The Pippins could not get much going offensivelym scoring just one run in the top of the 8th inning off of reliever Hunter Hennigh, when Nick DiCarlo hit an RBI single. Starter Dakota Hawkins was shutdown for the HarbourCats, striking out 6 and not walking a batter over 6 shutout innings to earn his first win of the summer. The HarbourCats scored eight of their nine runs in the final four innings of the game.
FOR THE PIPPINS: Right-hander Trystan Vrieling will start for the Pippins on Sunday in the day game series finale. The right-hander out of Gonzaga will be making his fourth appearance of the summer, and his second as the starter. His last start came last Sunday at home in a doubleheader against Port Angeles, where he allowed just two runs (one earned) over 5 innings of work, striking out 6, but took the loss in a 2-1 Port Angeles win. On the season, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound native of Kennewick, Wash., has posted an 0-2 record and 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings of work, striking out 12 and walking 3. Opponents have hit .262 off of Vrieling this season.
FOR THE ELKS: Right-hander Mitch Lines will make his third start of the summer for the HarbourCats on Sunday to close out the series with the Pippins. The 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander native to Battle Ground, Wash., is 0-1 on the year with a 9.81 ERA over his first two starts of the summer. In 7.1 innings, Lines has struck out 7 and walked 4, while opponents have hit a combined .382 off of the Lower Columbia College righty. Lines, who will transfer to Boise State in the fall, lost his last start on Monday in Walla Walla, allowing six earned runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts over 3.1 innings.
SIXTH INNING STRUGGLES: The Pippins have struggled in the middle innings of games all season, but those issues have been exacerbated over the last two games with Victoria. Over the last two days, the Pippins have been outscored, 10-0, in the sixth inning alone, with that deficit rising to 19-0 when the 8th inning is included. The sixth inning has been the most difficult one all year for the Pippins – they have allowed 36 runs in that inning this year, the most of any inning, and have been outscored by 14 in the sixth innings of games this year.
A LOT OF DUDES: Within the past week, the Pippins have had four new players debut for the team in WCL play, brining their total number of players to appear in a game this season, through 36 games, to 47. Brothers Kyle and Tyler Dean, both position players, debuted early last weekend against Port Angeles, while left-hander Anthony Alvarado made his season debut on the mound on Sunday. On Thursday, right-hander Dominic Miller debuted in relief. A litany of injures has led to larger-than-expected roster turnover early in the season.
ODDS & ENDS: The Pippins did not commit an error on defense for the first time since June 7 against Wenatchee, a stretch of 33 games over six weeks.