Big first helps Sweets snap skid, 9-2Posted: Updated:
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Walla Walla sent 10 men to the plate, scored six runs on four hits and never looked back after the first inning in a 9-2 win over the Portland Lobos at Borleske Stadium.
Having lost their last seven games, the Sweets (4-10) needed a boost and they got it in the bottom of the first on Saturday night. The win evened the Sweets record to 1-1 against non-league opponents on the season.
Trailing 1-0 after the top of the first inning, the first five hitters in the Sweets lineup reached before an out was recorded. Alex Bonczyk led off the game with a double to left-center, Nick Vilter reached on an infield single and Brett Jacobs tied the game with a single through the right side. Vilter then scored on a wild pitch to put the Sweets ahead for good and Chance Kopacz capped the big inning with a three-run home run to left-center.
The big outburst allowed starter Matt Imhof to settle down in his first start of the summer. Imhof just arrived in Walla Walla on Thursday and found himself on the mound Saturday. He struck out a pair in the second and then turned a nifty 1-6-3 inning-ending double play in the third. He leapt to snag a comebacker from Carl Beckert, spun and fired to Vilter at second to start the twin-killing.
Portland threatened against Imhof in the fourth, loading the bases on a single and a pair of hit by pitches but Imhof got a ground ball to second to end the inning. The Lobos finally chased Imhof in the fifth as the loaded the bases again with two hits and a hit by pitch. Joe Arlt was summoned with two outs in the inning and got strikeout to end the inning after issuing a bases-loaded walk. Imhof's final line included five strikeouts, one walk and seven hits allowed.
Arlt went on to earn the win and toss two more scoreless innings before handing the ball off to J.J. Robinson and Ben Ruff to end the game. He struck out four and allowed just one hit. Robinson and Ruff both tossed scoreless innings in their first appearances of the summer.
The Sweets put the game away with single runs in the third, sixth and seventh. Bonczyk scored Kopacz with a sac fly in the third, Spencer O'Neil doubled off the wall in left-center to score Vilter in the sixth and Bonczyk picked up his second RBI of the game with an infield single in the seventh.
Jacobs finished with four of the Sweets' 13 hits and Kopacz finished with three hits, three RBI and three runs scored. Bonczyk and Vilter also added multiple hits.
The Sweets wrap up their two-game set with the Lobos on Sunday at Borleske Stadium. First pitch will be at 5:05 p.m. on Father's Day.