By Walla Walla Sweets
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Sweets scored six runs on just one hit in the second inning and Zach Brandon allowed just one run over six innings in a 7-4 victory over Kelowna on Friday night at Borleske Stadium.
The Sweets (21-27) evened the series with the Falcons (27-24) at one game apiece. The two teams will continue their series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
In search of his first win of the summer, Brandon worked around a first-inning jam and some erratic moments to allow just one run on three hits over six innings. With the bases-loaded and one out in the first, Brandon got a strikeout and a fly to right to end the inning and then induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play in the second. The Falcons finally got to him in the fourth with a run but Brandon left two on with a strikeout in the fifth and ended his night with a 4-6-3 double play in the sixth.
The Sweets scored all the runs they would need in the second inning. Kelowna starter Boomer Hermes started the inning strong, getting a ground ball to first to start the frame but it quickly turned ugly. He walked the next five hitters, with Ryan Cooper and Ben Ruff earning bases-loaded free passes to make it 2-0. Kris Paulino was hit to force a run in, Alex Bonczyk picked up his league-leading fifth sac fly to make it 4-0 and Brett Jacobs capped the big inning with a two-run double down the left field line.
Kelowna tried to make a run late but the Sweets were able to escape thanks to Doug Ashby and Kingsley. Trailing 6-1 in the eighth, a pair of Sweets errors opened the door for the Falcons. Jerry McClanahan's deep drive to left-center hit the top of the wall to load the bases and Tucker Alexander's ground ball to third was misplayed to make it 6-2. Ashby then issued a bases-loaded walk to score a run and put the tying runs on base with just one out. He settled to strike out the next batter and Kingsley entered and induced an inning-ending ground ball to short to leave the bases loaded. Kingsley allowed a run in the ninth but got a ground ball to second to earn his first save.
Kalani Brackenridge and Jacobs each had two hits and Beau Fraser scored two runs to lead the Sweets offense. Paulino reached base three times with two walks and a hit by pitch. Paulino has reached base at a .643 clip in six games against the Falcons this summer. Matt Imhof will start Saturday in search for his first win of the summer.