YAKIMA, WA - The Yakima Valley Pippins responded immediately out of a 1-0 hole in the first inning, coming back to win the series opener, 8-3, over the Kelowna Falcons on Friday night at Yakima County Stadium.

Freddy Smith (Cal State Northridge) led Yakima Valley with a career high four hits and the Pippins provided an emphatic win as the bats combined for 15 hits. Trevor Achenbach (Oklahoma Wesleyan) tied things up in the 2nd inning on an RBI sacrifice fly, scoring Jay Schuyler (San Diego), who doubled to lead off the frame.

The Pippins (28-18, 13-6) would then take the lead for good as Christian Koss (UC Irvine), Jace VanDeBrake (Gonzaga) and Smith all singled to begin the 3rd inning. Schuyler added to the lead with an RBI sacrifice fly before VanDeBrake scored on a Kelowna Falcons throwing error.

Zach Draper (College of Idaho) pitched another effective outing, throwing six innings allowing just one run, zero earned, earning his West Coast League leading 8th win of the season. Ryan Garcia (UCLA) threw two scoreless innings in relief before Zach Haggett (Central Washington) closed out the 9th inning allowing two runs as Yakima Valley improved to 3-1 against the Kelowna Falcons.

As Draper continued to pump out scoreless innings, the Pippins continued to threaten on the bases, posting base hits in all eight innings at the plate. Insurance runs would come across in the 6th when Christian Koss kickstarted the 2-out hit parade with a sharp single. Two more runs would score on 2-out base hits from VanDeBrake and Smith, breaking the game open, 5-1.

In his first start, Marco Venezuela (University of Nevada Reno) finished 2-3 at the plate, scoring once and catching Draper’s start. Bryton Redal (Central Washington) posted a double in his first at-bat while Kyle Stahl (Central Washington) added a base hit and run scored in the 8-3 win.

Both teams return to action Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. as the Yakima Valley Pippins search for the series win on Foster Care Awareness Night. Fans can listen to the action live on 1460 ESPN Yakima, the official home for Pippins Baseball.