Walla Walla Finishes Off Homestand With 6-2 Win Over PortlandPosted: Updated:
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With an offday looming ahead, the Walla Walla Sweets took care of business on Wednesday with a 6-2 victory over the Portland Lobos at Borleske Stadium.
Walla Walla scored all of their runs in the first five innings and got five scoreless innings out of their bullpen to finish their eight-game homestand with a 4-4 record.
Portland actually led after the top of the first thanks to an RBI single from Ben Higgins but the Sweets quickly erased that. Alex Stanford singled up the middle to start the game, Scott Gottschling was walked and Andrew Mendenhall beat out an infield single to load the bases with no outs. Chance Kopacz's ground ball to short tied the game at 1-1 and two pitches later, Kopacz and Gottschling ran a perfect double steal to score the second run. Kopacz broke for second and as soon as the ball left the catchers hand, Gottschling broke for home, scoring easily.
The quick response helped Sweets starter Eric Yardley settle down. Making his first start of the summer, Yardley recovered in the second by working around a leadoff hit batter and tossed a 1-2-3 third. He found himself in trouble again in the fourth as the Lobos loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a hit batter. Yardley got tough and struck out the next batter before giving up a sac fly to center. He ended the inning with a 4-3 ground out and handed the ball off to his bullpen.
Buoyed by three straight innings of runs, the Sweets bullpen did the rest. Tyler Billen answered the first call and tossed two scoreless frames, including working out of a two-on one out jam in the fifth. He struck out two over the two innings and earned the victory. Geoff Soja was next in line and he pitched very effectively, striking out three over two innings without allowing a hit. Simon Anderson came on for the ninth and had a scoreless outing for the seventh straight appearance.
Walla Walla scored all the runs they would need in the third, fourth and fifth. Stanford started the third with a single, stole second, moved to third on a fly out and scored on a Mendenhall sac fly to make it 3-1. Austin Heaps started the fourth with a booming double to right-center and scored as Kalani Brackenridge ripped the next pitch up the middle. Walla Walla capped the scoring in the fifth as Elliot Stewart drilled a two-run single past a drawn-in infield. The hit snapped an 0-22 slump for Stewart.
Portland starter Chris Allen lasted 4.1 and gave up six runs on eight hits. The Lobos bullpen pitched well the rest of the way, allowing just one hit over the final 3.2 innings. Kurt Snowley and Carl Beckert each had two hits for Portland and Stanford and Gottschling each scored a pair of runs for the Sweets.
Walla Walla will have Thursday off before heading to Klamath Falls for a three-game weekend series against the Gems. The Sweets will enter the series three games behind Bellingham for the final playoff spot in the East Division