Pippins Surrender Early Lead, Drop Opener to Corvallis

YAKIMA, Wash. – The Yakima Valley Pippins picked up an early lead over the Corvallis Knights on Saturday night, but could not hold on, falling 7-4 at Yakima County Stadium to drop the series opener to the 3-time reigning West Coast League champions.

The Knights (7-6) actually grabbed the first lead of the ballgame in the top of the second inning. With 2 outs and 2 strikes on Corvallis’ nine-hole hitter, Michael Dixon, Pippins (8-8) starter Ryan Jameson threw a fastball, which Dixon smacked through the right side for a 2-run, opposite-field single that gave the Knights the lead. The Pippins answered right back with a big bottom half of the inning, however, when Luke Schwartz, Tanner Parker, and Noah Andrews all delivered RBI singles. Andrews, in his Pippins debut, had a 2-run hit to give the Pippins the lead.

From there, however, Corvallis left-hander Timothy Josten and 3 Knights relievers were too much for the Pippins, who mustered just one hit in the following seven innings. Josten sliced through a mostly right-handed Pippins lineup, striking out a season-high 7 while allowing just the four runs (all unearned) on 4 hits and a walk to earn his second win of the season.

Jameson, making his first start of the summer, fought around trouble in both the third and fourth innings to put together a respectable outing. In four innings, with a pitch count nearing 85, he struck out 8 batters and walked 2, while allowing 2 earned runs on six hits. His breaking ball was particularly effective as an out pitch. Because he left with the Pippins leading but before completing five innings, Jameson took a no-decision.

Dylan Barkley came on in relief, his first time coming out of the bullpen in 2019, and quickly surrendered the lead, with the Knights tacking on a run in the fifth, and then two in the sixth off of RBI singles from Jake Holcroft and Andy Atwood. Barkley, who allowed another run in the 8th inning, took the loss after allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits and 2 strikeouts in his four innings of relief.

The Pippins threatened against the Corvallis bullpen in the late innings, but never were able to strike for runs. A single and a walk put two on in the 6th against reliever Kevin West, but he struck out Ty DeLancey to end the threat. In the 7th, without a base hit, the Pippins loaded the bases (dropped third strike and two walks) but did not score. An error and a walk put two on with two outs in the eighth, but the Pippins again stranded a pair.

Alex Williams came on in relief for the Knights to earn a four-out save, his first of the summer, and struck out two in the process. Ayden Adams tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for the Pippins, throwing all 7 of his pitches for strikes.

Tanner Parker led the way for the Pippins with another multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 and adding his 6th double and a pair of RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. Luke Schwartz had an RBI single for Yakima Valley, and Andrews drove in a pair in his Pippins debut.

Atwood led the way on offense for Corvallis with 3 hits, while Holcroft added two hits, and RBI, and two stolen bases. Briley Knight and Matthew Gretler also had two-hit games for Corvallis.

The series resumes on Sunday with a 6:05 PM first pitch at Yakima County Stadium. The Pippins will send righty Tyler Frazier to the mound for his first start, while Corvallis counters with left-hander Tevita Gerber. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz at pippinsbaseball.com/live begins at 5:50 PM.

By Miles Klotz

June 23, 2019