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Pippins Turn Out Lights On Knights, Take Game 1 Of WCL Playoff Series

Photo Credit - Zach Olney
Photo Credit – Zach Olney

The Yakima Valley Pippins entered Tuesday’s postseason matchup against the Corvallis Knights winless in their postseason history, while also having never produced more than three runs in any of their four previous postseason games. That changed in a big way last night, as the Pips collected 15 hits from eight different players en route to a 9-3 victory in game one against Corvallis to take game one of their best of three WCL South Divisional Series.

The Pippins (1-0, 29-26) did not take long to get jumpstarted, as after Jonny DeLuca (Oregon) drew a leadoff walk against Corvallis starter, Cole Spear (UC Irvine), in the bottom of the first inning, Brad Beesley (Cal Poly-SLO) singled, setting up an RBI chance for Lucas Denney (Seattle U). Denney took advantage, blooping a single down the left field line to plate DeLuca for the game’s first run. Then with two outs, Steve Sordahl (St. Martin’s) singled to bring in Beesley to give the Pippins a two-run first inning.

The Pippins were just getting started, however, as the third inning provided an even greater offensive flurry. After consecutive singles from Denney and Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois) to begin the frame, Sordahl came up in a run-producing spot again and took full advantage, singling through the right side to plate both runs and give the Pippins a 4-0 lead. Then, after Chase Wells (Seattle U) reached on an infield single to plate Sordahl, Tyler Bosetti (Nevada) doubled off the right field wall, setting up a DeLuca sacrifice fly which scored Wells and gave the Pippins a 6-0 lead with a four-run third inning.

Yakima Valley kept up their offensive rhythm in the fourth inning, as Denney doubled with one out in the frame before Ellis followed with a single. Sordahl then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt towards the first base line to score Denney and give the Pippins a 7-0 lead. Daniel Cope (Cal State Fullerton) then got in on the action when he singled to center field to score Ellis and make it an 8-0 game.

Corvallis (0-1, 34-21) finally got on the board in the fifth inning against Pippins’ starter, Taylor Dollard (Cal Poly-SLO), by using a pair of singles and a double-play groundout to make the score 8-1. The Pippins answered right away, however, using a Beesley RBI single to plate Bosetti to build the lead back to eight runs at 9-1.

The Knights got two more runs in the top of the sixth inning on a Jordan Qsar (Pepperdine) two-run home run off Dollard but that was all they could manage, as the Knights stranded five runners in the final three frames while Pippins’ relievers Will Adair (Cal Poly-SLO) and Grayson Jones (James Madison) worked three scoreless frames to seal the victory and the 1-0 series lead.

What’s Next: Game two of the best of three series is set for Wednesday night in Corvallis. By virtue of having the better record, the Knights will host game two and game three (if necessary) of the series.

The Pippins have not yet announced a starter for the game. Corvallis will send out right-hander, Trenton Toplikar (UC Riverside, 2-0, 5.06 ERA), who will make his sixth start. Toplikar faced the Pippins in Yakima on July 22 and allowed four runs on ten hits over five innings while striking out four, but did not factor into the decision.

First pitch for game two is set for 6:40 p.m. from Goss Stadium and can be heard live on your home for Yakima Valley Pippins baseball 1460 ESPN Yakima.

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