Pippins Fail to Capitalize in Loss to HarbourCats
YAKIMA, Wash. – In the rubber game of their series, the Yakima Valley Pippins tallied three more hits than the Victoria HarbourCats, and put multiple runners on base in six different innings. The Pippins could not take advantage of their opportunities, however, stranding nine runners on base en route to a 6-2 loss as Victoria stole the series at Yakima County Stadium on Sunday evening.
The HarbourCats (3-1) got on the board first for the third straight night, and scored a run in the top of the 1st inning for the second time in the series to take a 1-0 lead. They added three more in the 3rd inning off of Pippins starter John Fuqua (Virginia Military Institute), and took a 4-0 lead the the bottom of the 4th inning.
It was in the bottom frame that the Pippins (1-2) scored their first run of the game, as Connor White (Columbia Basin) singled in Gabe Taylor to make the score 4-1. After Victoria quickly answer with a run in the top of the 5th inning, the Pippins added another, with Gabe Taylor (Dixie State) singling home Dillon Plew (Washington State) with two outs. The Pippins then had runners on second and third base with two outs in the frame for Steve Sordahl, who hit a line drive that seemed destined to drop into left center and get the Pippins within a run. Instead, HarbourCats centerfielder Ethan Lopez (Hawaii) made a terrific diving catch, robbing Sordahl to maintain Victoria’s three-run advantage. The HarbourCats added an insurance run in the 7th inning to take a 6-2 lead. Yakima Valley threatened in the 8th inning, as Taylor and Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois) both singled in the frame but White popped out with two outs to end the frame. After a one-two-three 9th inning to cap off a dominant performance from HarbourCats reliever, Adam McKillican, the HarbourCats secured a 6-2 win to take the series and improve to 3-1 on the season.
Game Notes: With the series win, Victoria is now 3-1 in all-time series against the Pippins, and have won the last three, with their last series lost coming when they were swept in Yakima in June of 2014. The two teams are 6-6 all-time. Victoria scored the first run in every game of the series and also led at least 3-0 in each of the three games. The Pippins committed at least two errors in every game of the series. The two teams will meet for another three game set in Victoria when the Pippins head to Royal Athletic Park on July 11-13.
The Hitting: With two singles on the night, Plew recorded his second multi-hit game on the season after recording a three-hit night in the series opener on Friday. He leads the Pippins with six hits through the first three games. Taylor, who came on for Michael Russo in the third inning defensively, had two singles for his first hits of the season. By recording hits tonight, Plew, Dustin Yates (Washington State), Sordahl, Michael Wyatt (Columbia Basin) and Ellis have all hit safely in the first three games of the season. The Pippins left a season high nine on base, including leaving two on base in four different innings.
The Pitching: Fuqua started and last five innings for the Pippins, allowing just three earned runs and three hits, but did walk three and hit two batters to take the loss. Taylor pitched three solid innings, allowing an earned run on four hits while striking out three against one walk. Matt Driver came on in the 9th inning and pitched a scoreless inning of relief with a strikeout. Noah Prewett (San Diego) pitched in relief for the HarbourCats and earned the win and Adam McKillican (British Columbia) pitched three innings to earn the save.
What’s Next: Victoria will play their home opener on Monday night when they host the Wenatchee AppleSox at 6:35 p.m. at Royal Athletic Park. The Pippins continue their season-opening homestand when they host the Bellingham Bells on Monday night. Hunter French (Columbia Basin) is scheduled to start for the Pippins with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. from Yakima County Stadium.
ABOUT THE PIPPINS: The Yakima Valley Pippins compete in the West Coast League, one of the nation’s premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues. The Pippins play their home games at Yakima County Stadium (“The Orchard”) in Yakima, Washington. After winning 96 games during their first three seasons in the WCL, the Pippins set the mark as the winningest WCL expansion team after three years. Yakima County Stadium will play host to the 2017 West Coast League All-Star Game, along with an extensive 31-game home season for Year No. 4 of Pippins' Baseball in 2017. Read more online at PippinsBaseball.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube with #ThatWasAwesome.