Wild Walkoff for Pippins Ties Series Against Pickles
YAKIMA, Wash.- The Pippins were on a frustrating 3 game losing streak and needed a good break and a win. They got both in a wild 8-7 walkoff victory on Saturday night.
The bats got off to a hot start, taking the first lead of the series for the Pippins on a pair of extra-base hits and a pair of errors.
Jackson Reed got things going with a leadoff triple and in his first at-bat of the season Henry Gargus scored a run on an RBI triple.
By the time the 1st inning was complete, the Pippins had a 3-0 lead. Tyler Griggs would score another in the 3rd on his 5th hit of the year and the lead jumped to 4-0.
The 4 runs were backed up by a stellar start from Michael Splaine. The UCSB Gaucho went 5 innings allowing only one run on a fluke ground-ball that skipped off of the first base bag. He finished with 3 strikeouts while allowing just 2 hits.
After he exited, the Pickles rallied immediately off of the new reliever. 3 walks and a pair of hits plated 3 runs and tied up the game at 4. Julian Taudin-Chabot worked out of further damage by striking out back-to-back batters to end the inning.
The Pippins offense stayed stagnant for a while and the Pickles would make them pay. In the 8th inning Portland would break the 4-4 tie with 4 hits to total 3 more runs and take a 7-4 lead.
Frustrated after allowing 7 unearned runs, the Pippins had their back to the wall entering the final frame.
Michael Rice and Gaven Mattson combined to toss a scoreless top of the 9th and the Pippins came to the plate trailing by 3.
Owen McWilliam and Luke Rohleder would each string together opposite field hits and put 2 in scoring position with no one out.
Jackson Reed who already had 3 hits on the night, smoked a single to the outfield to score both runners and advance to second as the tying run.
A bunt would move him to third and the Pippins would have 2 chances to score the tying run.
The first would be shut down by a strikeout and down to the final out, the Pickles walked Jaxon Sorenson to work around the DH and bring up Sam Olsson.
Hank Dunn would pinch run at first as a would-be winning run and with Reed on 3rd, Olsson had his chance. Swinging at the first pitch he popped a routine fly ball to left field which looked like it would end the game.
The Pickles left fielder dropped back, worked underneath it, and watched it tip off of his glove and drop to the grass.
Dunn was moving full speed on contact and rounded third to score. Within a matter of seconds, the Pickles went from a sure win to a heartbreaking loss.
The Pippins dugout erupted with celebration as the drop ended their losing streak and evened up the series.
“It’s just a huge relief,” said Cascade Natural Gas High Efficiency Player of the Game Jackson Reed. “I think this is exactly what the team needed, just something to go our way.”
The Pippins look to win the series in the finale Sunday at 6:05.
By Zach McKinstry
June 26, 2022