Pippins Preview: June 20 vs. Victoria

After completing a series win over the Kelowna Falcons with a strong offensive performance to win 9-4 on Wednesday night at the Orchard, the Pippins continue their homestand on Thursday with a matchup against the Victoria HarbourCats. After the two teams split a two-game series last week in Yakima, Victoria returns for one game to close out the home set in Yakima between the two teams in the 2019 regular season. Left-hander Darius Garcia is set to make his second start of the summer for the Pippins, and will be opposed by Victoria righty DJ Peters. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM PT, with pregame coverage beginning with Miles Klotz at pippinsbaseball.com/live at 6:20 PM.

Full Game Notes

PIPPINS USE BALANCED OFFENSE TO TAKE SERIES FROM KELOWNA: After failing to score in a Tuesday shutout loss to the Kelowna Falcons, the Pippins offense broke out with 9 runs on Wednesday to take a 9-4 win, and the series, from Kelowna. After falling behind early after 2 innings, the Pippins offense struck with a bases-loaded hit by pitch and a balk to tie the game in the 4th inning. In the 6th inning, having again fallen behind, the Pippins struck for 5 runs on 6 hits while batting around for the first time in 2019, capped off by Tanner Parker’s bases-clearing double. Parker also added a 2-run homer in the 8th inning to cap off the big win. A.J. Wood earned his first win of the summer for the Pippins with 3 innings of scoreless relief. The Pippins scored runs off of four different pitchers for Kelowna to take the series.

FOR THE PIPPINS: Left-hander Darius Garcia is set to make his second start of the summer for the Pippins, and his first at home, tonight against the HarbourCats. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound southpaw from UC Irvine made his first start for the Pippins on Saturday in Bellingham, and took a tough-luck loss. He allowed two runs, only one of which was earned, in 5-plus innings of work, striking out three batters and walking a pair. He allowed four hits in the outing. On the year, he is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA.

FOR THE HARBOURCATS: Right-hander DJ Peters will make his second start of the summer tonight for Victoria. In his first start back on June 5 in Wenatchee, the Mesa, Arizona, native allowed 2 runs, only one of which was earned, over 4 innings while striking out 4 and walking 3 on 3 hits. The righty out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College made 12 starts for Scottsdale in the spring, posting a 5-5 record and 4.39 ERA over 55.1 innings of work.

PARKER PACES THE OFFENSE: Tanner Parker, the Pippins’ everyday second baseman, continued his hot stretch on Wednesday with another 2-for-5 performance. Hitting leadoff for the third consecutive game, Parker extended his streak of multi-hit games to eight, and his hit streak to nine games. With a 5th-inning double and an 8th-inning two run homer, it was the first game in the streak in which Parker collected multiple extra-base hits. After collecting just 2 hits in his first five games, Parker is hitting .486 (18-for-37) over his current 9-game hitting streak. His .388 batting average is good for 8th in the West Coast League, and his 12 RBIs are tied for 2nd in the league.

HOMETOWN BOY HEATS UP: After a slow start to the year, Yakima’s own Henry Gargus has seen his bat heat up over the last 8 games. In those 8 games, he has collected a hit in each game, the second-longest hitting streak on the Pippins this season (Tanner Parker, 9). Over that stretch, Gargus is hitting .285 (8-for-28), which has raised his batting average from .133 to .231.

WOOD STABILIZES THE BACK END: After starting the season on a short-term contract, Central Washington’s A.J. Wood has been one of the best relievers in the Pippins’ bullpen all season long. With 3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief on Wednesday, Wood picked up his first win, and saw his ERA drop to 0.87 in 4 appearances. After making a start in his first appearance of the year, Wood has come out of the bullpen the previous three times, and has yet to allow a run in those 3 appearances.

ODDS & ENDS: With Tanner Parker’s 8th inning home run, the Pippins hit homers in consecutive games for the first time since doing so in Ridgefield on June 5 and June 6…the Pippins have yet to lose back-to-back home games so far this season.

By Miles Klotz

June 20, 2019