Fresh off of a home-opening weekend series sweep against the Wenatchee AppleSox, the Pippins continue their 5-game home-stand against WCL North Division opponents by opening up a short, 2 game series against the Victoria HarbourCats. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM at the Orchard, with Joe Magrisi scheduled to start for the Pippins opposite Victoria’s Aaron Celestino. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz, both audio and video, begins at 6:20 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.
PIPPINS SWEEP APPLESOX WITH SUNDAY VICTORY: The Pippins completed their first sweep of the 2019 season on Sunday with a 4-2 win over the Wenatchee AppleSox, despite being outhit, 8 to 5. Dylan Barkley, in his second start of the summer, took a no-decision after allowing 1 unearned run over 5.1 innings of work. The Pippins, after falling behind 2-1 in the 6th inning, benefited from a throwing error from Wenatchee’s Grant Gorrell that allowed 2 runs to score in a 3-run bottom of the 6th, giving the Pippins a late lead. Jack Gonzales, in his first appearance of 2019, tossed 2 scoreless innings to get the save.
FOR THE PIPPINS: Right-hander Joe Magrisi, the reining West Coast League Pitcher of the Week, makes his second start of the season today against the HarbourCats. Magrisi started on Friday against Wenatchee, allowing just 1 hit and no walks over 5 shutout innings while striking out 7 to earn his first win of the season. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore from Cal State Fullerton also has one save this year, which he earned on Opening Day last week in Ridgefield by striking out the side on 10 pitches.
FOR THE HARBOURCATS: Right-hander Aaron Celestino makes his second start of the season today for Victoria. The 6-foot, 200-pound native of Houston, Texas, started last Wednesday at Wenatchee, earning the win after posting a quality start. He allowed 1 earned run over 6 innings, allowing 4 hits, no walks, and striking out 5. Celestino is a rising junior at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
A LOOK AT VICTORIA: The HarbourCats are off to a 3-3 start to the season, opening the season with a road series win at Wenatchee before dropping 2 of 3 to 3-time reigning league champion Corvallis at home last weekend. Despite the middling record, Victoria ranks tied for 4th in the WCL in runs scored, and is 4th in the league with a 3.23 team ERA. Tulane catcher Frankie Niemann leads Victoria offensively, with a .480 batting average through six games, including 2 doubles and 4 RBIs. Canada native Cade Smith has been the team’s top starter, posting a 3.60 ERA and 11 strikeouts over 10 innings in his first two starts.
A FAST-STARTING FRANCHISE: With a win today, the Pippins would improve to 6-1, which would be the second best start in franchise history. While each of the past two years prior to 2018, the Pippins have fallen below .500 early, the franchise has historically gotten off to fast starts. The 2016 team starte 6-0 in WCL games, and eventually reached 7-1, while the 2015 team also started 5-1.
BARKLEY’S WALK-FREE NATURE: Dylan Barkley added another good start to his early season resume on Sunday, most impressively increasing his stretch of walk-free baseball to 11.1 innings by again not walking a batter over 5.1 frames against Wenatchee. Of all WCL pitchers who have made at least 2 starts this summer, Barkley is one of two (Matthew Henckel, Bellingham) without a free pass issued, and is the only one who has enough innings pitched to qualify for the league leaderboard. As a team, the Pippins have walked 14 batters, fewer than any other team in the WCL. Victoria ranks second with 16 walks allowed.
ODDS & ENDS: The Pippins struck out offensively a season-low 5 times on Sunday, the third consecutive game that they set a new season low for offensive strikeouts…Owen Cobb ranks 5th in the league in batting average, with a .476 mark; he is the youngest player in the top five…the Pippins are 4-for-4 on stolen bases this season, one of two WCL teams that has not been caught (Bellingham); Victoria is 2nd in the league in steals, with 15, but has been caught a league-high 11 times, for a 57.7% success rate…the Pippins came back to win after falling behind on Sunday; they are now 4-0 when scoring second in 2019.
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