Early Lead Slips But Pippins Hold On For Win Over Kelowna
YAKIMA, WA - The Yakima Valley Pippins scored runs in each of the first five innings, proving to be just enough offense, holding off the Kelowna Falcons, 6-5, on Saturday night at Yakima County Stadium for the series win.
After allowing four runs in the 6th and 7th innings, the Pippins bullpen tightened up and closed the door as Connor Zwetsch (Oregon) earned his 6th save of the season. Freddy Smith (Cal State Northridge) contributed one of his three hits on the night in the opening frame, an RBI double giving the Pippins an early 1-0 lead.
Yakima Valley (29-18, 14-6) would add two more runs in the 2nd inning featuring an RBI sacrifice fly from Jace VanDeBrake (Gonzaga). Gavin Velasquez (Cal State Fullerton) pitched six effective innings, yielding just one hit through the first three frames, eventually earning his 7th win.
The Pippins would extend the lead in the 2nd inning, 3-0, on an RBI sacrifice fly from Ryan McCarty (Cal State Northridge) eventually building a 6-1 lead after five innings on another RBI sacrifice fly out, this one from Kyle Stahl (Central Washington).
The Kelowna Falcons scored one run in the 6th inning against Velasquez, which could have resulted in more if not for an impressive 6-3 line drive double play turned between Freddy Smith and Christian Koss with the bases loaded.
Kelowna would then add three runs in the 7th inning as Matt Fish (Lewis-Clark State College) walked two batters while recording one out in relief. Drake Atlee (Cal State Northridge) then proceeded to give up three straight base hits, eventually escaping the jam with a crucial pickoff and strikeout to limit the damage.
Seven players posted hits in the winning effort, including a multi-hit night from Christian Koss (UC Irvine), who delivered an RBI single in the 2nd inning. The Yakima Valley Pippins will send out Andrew Bernstein (Cal Poly Slo) Sunday night at 5:05 p.m. in search of the series sweep. Fans can listen to the action live on 1460 ESPN Yakima, the official home for Pippins Baseball.