Corvallis, Ore. – After starting the year 0-3 in one-run games, the Pippins finally came out on the right side of a close contest Tuesday in Corvallis, rallying late to knock off the Knights, 4-3.
Both sides dotted the scoreboard early, putting up a run in each of the first two frames to make it 2-2 heading into the third inning. The Pippins (7-3) got an RBI groundout from Reid Martinez and Ryan Lillie provided a sacrifice fly for the first two RBI. With his 14th RBI of the season, Martinez moved into a first-place tie atop the West Coast League leaderboard, alongside Bend’s Tyler Davis.
As Pippins starter Jens Jensen and Corvallis hurler Alex Nesbitt got locked in a pitcher’s duel through the next few innings, the Knights (5-5) finally broke through in the fifth, getting an RBI single from Michael Farris to go up, 3-2.
With Jensen out after five-plus innings, the Yakima Valley bullpen came up strong in the latter half of the game to keep the Knights scoreless from there. Matt Campbell worked the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and picked up the win.
Trailing 3-2 entering the eighth, the Pippins put on their rally caps against Corvallis reliever Craig Colen. Tyler Friis led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Branson Trube and scored the game-tying run on an RBI triple from Jace Van De Brake. Mitch Skaggs followed and brought in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Wyatt Mills came on and worked a scoreless bottom of the 9th to close out the Knights and pick up his third save of the year. The Pippins will look for a series win against the Knights in the middle game of the three-game set Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. Kelly Fitzpatrick is scheduled to start for Yakima Valley, opposite Chris Clements of Corvallis.
Listen in on 1460 ESPN Yakima starting at 6:20.