Austin Woodward had a strong showing and Nick Kern picked up his fifth save of the season as the Yakima Valley Pippins held off a late-inning Walla Walla Sweets surge for an 8-7 win Tuesday in Walla Walla.


The second inning was the big blast for the Pippins, who scored seven runs off eight hits. Shawn Wardian got a two-run RBI single and Vince Fernandez crushed a home run that brought in three runs for 7-0 Pippins lead.

In the third inning, the Sweets scored one on a sacrifice fly from Michael Duarte, but Yakima get one more on a double-play ball that scored Kern.

The Sweets, however, mounted a furious rally in the seventh that began with a two-run double by Kyle Nixon. Walla Walla's Mike Paulson then got hold of a pitch and sent it out of the park for a two-run homer in the eighth.

The home team kept it coming in the ninth as Andrew Mendenhall hit a two-run RBI single, pulling the Sweets to within 8-7.

But Yakima sent in Kern and shut down the threat, raising Woodward's record to 2-2 and protecting the Pippins' East Division lead.

Yakima (25-18) faces Walla Walla again at 7:05 tonight, with pregame at 6:55 p.m. on 1460 ESPN Yakima.