Pippins Struggle Offensively, Swept by Kelowna

KELOWNA, B.C. – The Pippins managed just one hit over 9 innings and fell victim to some ill-timed defensive errors on Friday, falling 2-0 at Elks Stadium in Kelowna as the Falcons completed the three-game series sweep.

The Pippins (7-9, 18-24) were unable to get anything going off of Kelowna (6-9, 16-25) right-hander Blake Tritch, who carved apart the Yakima Valley order over 7-plus shutout innings to earn his second win of the summer. Tritch rarely ran into trouble in his outing, allowing just the one hit (an opposite-field single by Nick Israel) and four walks while fanning four in his outing.

Kelowna did not manage many offensive chances on their end, only mustering five hits, but benefited from some ill-timed defensive miscues to take advantage of the Pippins. In the fifth inning, James Shimashita singled into right field, and moved up to second after an infield single by Conagher Sands. A batter later, Richie Sede’s bunt attempt was mishandled by Pippins first baseman Tyler Dean, who threw it wide of first, bringing home Shimashita and giving the Falcons their first lead.

In the 8th inning, Kelowna added a key insurance run off of Pippins reliever Kyle Dean. After starter Jack Gonzales was relieved with two outs in the inning and a runner at third, Marcus Guarin hit a ground ball that appeared playable for third baseman Nick Israel, but took a strange hop and bounced into left field, bringing home Austen Butler and adding another run on for Kelowna.

The Pippins threatened once off of Tritch in the 8th inning, when Eddy Pelc walked, James Bell reached on an error, and Nick DiCarlo was walked to load the bases with one out. But after the Falcons turned to reliever Matt Voelzke, he turned around and struck out both Tanner Parker and Nick Israel looking to end the threat.

Gonzales took the loss, his second of the summer, despite putting together a quality start. The left-hander only allowed two earned runs over 7.2 innings of work, walking one and striking out five. Dean allowed an inherited runner to score, but did not allow any additional damage.

With the Pippins completing their Canada road trip with a 1-5 record, the team returns home on Saturday to open up a 5-game homestand. The first game gets going at 6:35 PM against the Ridgefield Raptors, with right-hander Trystan Vrieling set to start for the Pippins. Pregame coverage begins at 6:20 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.

By Miles Klotz

July 27, 2019