The Yakima Valley Pippins go for their fifth straight win, and second straight series sweep, as they take on the Victoria HarbourCats at 6:35 PM PT on Thursday night at Yakima County Stadium. After a 4-2 win on Wednesday, the Pippins will search for the sweep in the mini two-game series with left-hander Mark Finkelnburg on the mound. The HarbourCats will counter with left-hander Dillon Larsen. Pregame coverage, both audio and video, begins with Miles Klotz at 6:20 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.
PIPPINS BEAT VICTORIA FOR 4TH STRAIGHT WIN: The Pippins fell behind early to the Victoria HarbourCats on Wednesday, but rode a 3-run bottom of the 1st inning to a 4-2 victory, their fourth straight win, to keep a perfect record on the current homestand. Tanner Parker hit a soft, two-RBI single into center field to cap off the inning, and Tyler Pittman added a 2nd-inning sacrifice fly to make it 4-1. Joe Magrisi lasted only 4 innings in his second start of the year, striking out 6 and allowing 2 runs, but it was Mark Woinarowicz who shined out of the bullpen, allowing just 1 hit and no runs or walks over 5 innings. He struck out a pair and earned his second win. Woinarowicz threw 73.7% of his 57 pitches for strikes.
FOR THE PIPPINS: Left-hander Mark Finkelnburg will make his second start of the year for the Pippins tonight against Victoria. The Portland, Oregon native made his first start on Saturday against Wenatchee, allowing 2 earned runs over 3.2 innings while striking out 4, walking two, and allowing 3 hits. He took a no-decision as the Pippins pulled out an 8-3 win. Over three years at Loyola Marymount, Finkelnburg has started five games.
FOR THE HARBOURCATS: Left-hander Dillon Larsen, an Ellensburg native, is set to make his second start of the summer for Victoria against the Pippins. A rising senior at Virginia Tech, Larsen made his first start last Friday against Corvallis, striking out 8 and walking 1 while allowing just 3 hits over 5 shutout innings. The Ellensburg High School graduate played his freshman season at Central Washington, and his sophomore year at Lane Community College in Oregon. He had a 10.80 ERA in 6 appearances for Virginia Tech in the spring.
PITCHING PROWESS: Through seven games, the Pippins have had the most dominant pitching staff in the West Coast League, with a team ERA of 1.89. The Pippins have not allowed more than 3 runs in a game so far this year. If that 1.89 mark were to hold throughout the entire season, the Pippins would shatter the single-season WCL record for team ERA in the Poinstreak era (2010-present), set in 2011 by the Corvallis Knights, with a 2.47 mark.
A FAST-STARTING FRANCHISE: With a win today, the Pippins would improve to 7-1, which would tie the best 8-game start in league play 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 started 6-0 in WCL games, and eventually reached 7-1, while the 2015 team also started 5-1.
WOINAROWICZ WINS: With his five innings of shutout relief yesterday, Mark Woinarowicz earned his second win of the season, with Joe Magrisi not pitching the requisite five innings needed to earn a victory. For Woinarowicz, it was his second win of the season in three regular season appearances, after he also picked up the win on the season’s opening night in Ridgefield on June 4. Woinarowicz has earned the decision in all 3 of his relief appearances, also taking the only loss of the Pippins’ season on June 6 in Ridgefield. Of WCL pitchers with at least 3 appearances, he is the only one to earn a decision in all of his games pitched.
ODDS & ENDS: The Pippins set or tied season lows last night for walks (0) and strikeouts (5)…Tanner Parker was caught stealing in the 6th inning last night, the first time this season a Pippin has been caught stealing…the Pippins’ 4 game winning streak is the longest of any WCL North Division team this season.