Four Run 5th Inning Sparks Series Win over Bellingham
YAKIMA, WA - The Yakima Valley Pippins scored in bunches on Wednesday night, securing their fifth win over the last six West Coast League games with a 4-run 5th inning, defeating the Bellingham Bells 4-1 at Yakima County Stadium.
West Coast League Pitcher of the Week Gavin Velasquez (Cal State Fullerton) threw eight strong innings of one-run baseball, limiting the Bells to just five hits while striking out four. The Pippins (21-14, 6-2) trailed 1-0 in the 5th inning before the bats were finally able to capitalize with runners on base as Christian Koss (UC Irvine) gave Yakima Valley the lead, 2-1, on a 2-RBI base hit.
Freddy Smith (Cal State Northridge) extended his current hit streak to seven games with an RBI single, making it 3-1. Then with two outs in the frame, Mitchell Morimoto (Arizona) delivered an RBI base hit, giving the Pippins a lead that would stand for Velasquez’s 5th win of the season.
Velasquez got some help from his defense as well, which committed zero errors for the third time over the last four games, featuring a nice sliding stop from shortstop Freddy Smith turning into a 6-3 putout to end the 4th inning.
Leadoff hitter Jace VanDeBrake (Gonzaga) finished 2-3 at the plate, now reaching base in each of his last 14 games. Connor Zwetsch (Oregon) entered out of the bullpen for the 9th inning, earning his second save of the season.
Yakima native Jens Jensen (Central Washington) will start Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. as the Pippins search for the series sweep over Bellingham. Fans can listen to the action live on 1460 ESPN Yakima, the official home for Pippins Baseball.