Bellingham Blanks Walla Walla, 3-0 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Bellingham Blanks Walla Walla, 3-0

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- What took over three hours to do on Wednesday, the Bellingham Bells did it in just over two hours on Thursday, shutting out the Walla Walla Sweets 3-0 at Borleske Stadium.

The Bells received outstanding pitching from their starter Andrew Pulido and scored two runs in the sixth inning for the second straight night, pushing their lead over the Sweets to four games in the East Division.

Pulido had not given up an earned run over his previous 12 innings and extended that to 19 with seven scoreless.  The right-hander from El Camino CC gave up just two hits and struck out five in his dominating performance.  The only scare he faced was in the second inning when Brenton Allen drove an offering to deep left-center.  Centerfielder Andy Fortuna bailed him out by diving full-out towards the wall to make the catch, eliminating an run from scoring and a possible in the park home run from Allen.

After that, he used a good mix of fastballs and breaking balls to keep the Sweets hitters off balance.  He allowed his first hit in the fourth as Alex Stanford doubled down the left field line but he was erased trying to steal third base.  Using that as momentum, Pulido faced the minimum over the course of the next five innings, leaving after a scoreless seventh.

Bellingham got the only runs they needed in the sixth inning.  Eric Lane started things with a single up the middle, went to second on a sac bunt and to third on an infield single.  That single was almost a ground out as Stanford grabbed the bouncing pill, slid to stop his momentum and threw back across his body to first but Derek Atkinson just beat the throw.  Atkinson was then picked off by Sweets starter Kyle Anderson but Austin Heaps' throw to second was wide of Williams allowing Lane to score from third.  Atkinson would eventually make his way to third and scored the second Bells run as Michael Aquino singled through the left side.  It was the third time this season against the Sweets that Aquino has had an RBI hit in the sixth inning that puts the Bells up 2-0.  He homered in the sixth last week, singled in a run in the sixth last night and then did it again tonight.

Nick Palewicz came on in relief in the eighth for Bellingham and did the rest.  He needed 12 pitches to retire Heaps to start the eighth but then got a fly out and strike out to end the inning.  Kevin Hawk worked a walk against Palewicz to start the ninth but a 5-4-3 double play sucked any life out of the Sweets and Palewicz stuck the final dagger by striking out Andrew Mendenhall to end the game.

Despite picking up his second loss of the summer, Anderson pitched well for the Sweets.  He was helped out in the first as Allen threw out Kai Hatch trying to score from second on a single to right.  Thanks to a devastating breaking ball, he settled down to strike out two in a 1-2-3 second, worked around a leadoff single in the third and struck out two more in a 1-2-3 fourth.  He finished allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits over 6.1 innings.  Eric Yardley came on in the seventh and got out of a jam to keep it 2-0 but gave up the third run in the eighth.  Brett Watson finished the game with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.  Pat Gallagher was the only Bell to collect multiple hits and Stanford and Kalani Brackenridge were the only Sweets to reach base via a hit.

Bellingham has taken four of the first five games from the Sweets this season and the teams will close out their season-series tomorrow night at Borleske Stadium with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.

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