PORTLAND, Ore. – The Yakima Valley Pippins struggled to score runs and fell victim to a late explosion of extra-base hits in a 2-1, walk-off loss in 10 innings to the Portland Pickles at Walker Stadium on Saturday, evening the second half-opening series at 2.
It was the first extra inning game of the season for the Pippins (1-1, 12-16), but it almost didn’t end up that way. Portland (1-1, 10-18) managed just 2 hits through the first eight inning of the game, and entered the bottom of the ninth trailing, 1-0. Reliever Trystan Vrieling, who had fired 4 innings of scoreless relief, served up a leadoff homer to Chase Luttrell to tie the game at 1.
In extra innings, extra-base hits – which the Pickles had none of in the first 17 innings of the series – came in bunches, with Jonathan Kelly leading off the bottom of the 10th inning with a booming double to left-center field. A batter later, John Arndorfer brought him home with a double just inside the third base bag, sending Portland to a walk-off win, their first win of the second half of the season.
The Pippins got a fantastic start from right-hander Joe Magrisi, who did not have his sharpest command (6 walks in 4.2 innings), but allowed just 1 hit and no runs while striking out a season-high 12 in just over 100 pitches on the night. Vrieling was strong in relief, as well, despite taking the loss, striking out five over 4.1 innings.
Portland pitching was strong throughout, with starter Titus Groeneweg only allowing one unearned run. In the top of the fourth inning, Nick DiCarlo reached on an error, and Aidan Welch followed with a double that brought home the first, and only, run of the game for the Pippins. Groeneweg, who struck out 2 in his 6 innings, allowing 3 hits, took a no-decision. Joey Morris, who tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, earned the win, his first of the summer.
Arndorfer led the way for the Pickles offensively with his two hits and the game-winning RBI. Welch had the only multi-hit day for the Pippins, who managed just 4 hits on the night.
The Pippins conclude their series with Portland on Sunday with an early 5:05 PM start time, with a chance to take the second-half opening series. Nick Brown will make his first start of the summer for the Pippins opposite Portland left-hander Michael Perzan. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz begins at 4:50 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.