Pippins Preview: July 4 vs. Bellingham

After a thrilling 5-3 win to claim the series from the Bellingham Bells on Wednesday night, the Pippins go for their second sweep of the year as they wrap up the 3-game series with the Bells with an early July 4 game at the Orchard. First pitch is set for 3:05 PM PT, with A.J. Wood set to start for the Pippins opposite Bellingham’s Cole Tucker. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz begins at 2:50 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.

Full Game Notes

PIPPINS USE LATE OFFENSE TO TAKE BELLINGHAM SERIES: Luke Schwartz’s go-ahead triple in the 8th inning was the key blow in the Pippins’ 5-3 win over the Bellingham Bells at home on Wednesday night, taking the series against the Bells. After falling behind 3-2 after six inning, the Pippins tied the game at 3 in the 7th on a Tanner Parker sacrifice fly, and then it was Schwartz who delivered the big hit with his wind-aided triple to deep right field in the 8th inning, scoring Brady Hormel. A batter later, Schwartz scored on an error to make it a 2-run game, and the back end of the Pippins bullpen (Tyler Frazier and Trystan Vrieling) closed the win out with two innings of scoreless relief.

FOR THE PIPPINS: Right-hander A.J. Wood will make his second start of the season for the Pippins as they look for the sweep to close out the first half of the WCL season. Wood has made 6 consecutive appearances out of the bullpen since starting his season debut on June 6 in Ridgefield, and has posted a 2.81 ERA on the season, striking out 14 batters in 16 innings. The 6-foot-3 native of Sacramento, CA, pitched twice last weekend in relief in Corvallis, allowing a solo homer on Sunday and tossing 1.2 scoreless innings on Friday.

FOR THE BELLS: Right-hander Cole Tucker will make his second start of the summer for Bellingham to close out the series on Thursday. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound right-hander from UC Riverside has made 3 appearances on the summer, including 1 start, and is 1-0 with a 4.69 ERA. In 7.2 innings of work, he has struck out 12 and walked 5, while allowing opponents to hit .207 off of him. In his last appearance against Portland last Friday, Tucker allowed 2 runs on 1 hit and 4 walks in 0.2 innings of relief. In his first start of the summer, he tossed 5 scoreless innings at Bend.

SCHWARTZ SHINES: It was perhaps the most unlikely of candidates who provided the big hit for the Pippins on Wednesday in outfielder Luke Schwartz. Better regarded for his defense, Schwartz had his best offensive day of the year, going 2-for-4 (his first multi-hit game in a Pippins uniform, in his 22nd game) with the go-ahead triple and an RBI. With the effort, Schwartz raised his batting average from .121 to .143. He also did not strike out for the second consecutive game.

HITS ON THE COBB: Owen Cobb continued his strong recent stretch at the plate on Wednesday with 2 hits in 2 at-bats after coming into the game late as a substitute. Over the last 4 games, Cobb has collected 8 hits in 13 at-bats, good for a .615 batting average, and has drove in a run in each game. His 28 hits this season are tied for most on the Pippins (Tanner Parker), and tied for 7th in the West Coast League. Additionally, Cobb leads all incoming freshmen in the WCL in hits.

A LOT OF DUDES: The Pippins had another new addition to the starting lineup on Wednesday against Bellingham, with outfielder Brian Rice becoming the 42nd different player to appear in a Pippins uniform so far this season through 25 games. Outfielder Eddy Pelc also joined the roster, and will become the 43rd player when he debust for the team. A litany of injures has led to larger-than-expected roster turnover early in the season.

ODDS & ENDS: Thursday is the only day of the week that the Pippins have failed to win a game on in 2019…a crowd of 1,424 watched the game Wednesday, the 2nd-largest of the season so far behind Opening Day…Tyler Frazier’s scoreless 8th inning kept his ERA out of the bullpen this year at 0.00.

By Miles Klotz

July 4, 2019