Knights extend win streak with series opening win against the Pickles

Number 41 Jonathan Stone pounds his chest after striking out a player on the Corvallis Marketmen on June 22 at Goss Stadium.
Number 41 Jonathan Stone pounds his chest after striking out a player on the Corvallis Marketmen on June 22 at Goss Stadium.
Ashton Bisner

The Corvallis Knights welcomed the Portland Pickles into Goss Stadium on Friday night in the first of the three-game series; after a hard-fought battle, the Knights prevailed over the Pickles with a 7-4 victory.

The Knights extended their win streak to four games with their victory over the Pickles in game one of the series.

What started as a dominant offensive opening from the Pickles turned sideways once their defense gave way midway through the game, and the Knights began to capitalize on the defensive mistakes.

After a scoreless first inning for both sides, the Pickles got things rolling in the top of the second with back-to-back doubles from infielders Jesse Pierce and Jack Metcho. Consequently, the next batter, infielder Armando Briseno, got on base from a fielding error, which meant runners at first and second with no outs.

The error led to a sacrifice bunt from infielder Xiage Lancaster to advance the runners into a deep sacrifice fly ball from catcher Andrew McKenna that scored another run.

The defensive mistakes first set in for the Pickles during the bottom of the third inning. The eighth hitter, Mason Le, led off for the Knights, and after sitting on a couple of close pitches, he knocked a ground ball toward second base that skipped off the bag and sailed right over the second baseman’s head.

Le saw this unorthodox play as an opportunity and sprinted to second base before the Pickles could regroup. The pressure was on Pickles’ starting pitcher, Murphy Gienger, and may have been too much for him as he hit one batter and then walked the next.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Knights infielder Tyler Quinn hit a bittersweet ground ball that scored a run but also caused a 6-4-3 double play. To score the tying run, first baseman Blake Avila clutched up on a two-out single to left, making this game 2-2.

The Pickles offense quickly struck back in the top of the fourth with a leadoff double from Briseno, followed by two sacrifice fly balls that gained catcher Andrew McKenna his second RBI of the night.

After the Pickles displayed their leadoff hitting power, Knights’ outfielder Sam Stem thought he should display some of his hitting power, as he mashed a leadoff home run in the bottom of the fourth. The solo-home run from Stem tied the game right back up, 3-3.

This game began to unravel for the Pickles in the bottom of the fifth inning. Avila stepped up again after a quick first out and ripped a ball to the right-center field gap for a standup double. Avila stole second, followed by a walk from Knights infielder Ethan Hedges.

The following plays brought up Knights catcher Anson Aroz, who hit a routine ground ball to third base in what should have been recorded as an out. Instead, the Pickles’ third basemen released their throw late, completely missing the first basemen. The error allowed Avila to score, Hedges to reach third base, and Aroz to reach second base. With the Knights having their first lead of the game, the pitching for the Pickles seemed to disintegrate as they walked the next two batters, resulting in another run scored.

After Le barreled up a ball to left field, picking up a sacrifice RBI, the inning ended after another flyout, and the Knights had a solid 6-3 lead.

The following two innings were quiet, with only one runner getting one base the entire time. However, a comeback for the Pickles looked possible after an electric solo home run from their designated hitter, Dalton Mashore, followed by a sharp single to left by outfielder/infielder Jesse Pierce.

With the score gap now thinner at 6-4 and a runner on base with no outs, the Knights brought in Utah sophomore right-handed pitcher Merit Jones, who quickly shut down the inning, forcing two weak groundouts and a strikeout.

Levi Jones, a freshman outfielder at Oregon State University, stepped into the batter’s box to leadoff for the Knights in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Jones then crushed a solo home run over the right-field wall to extend the Knights lead back to three runs in the eighth inning.

The go-ahead home run from Jones brought the game to the top of the ninth and the Pickles’ last hope at a late-game comeback. The hope of a comeback was eliminated by Knights closing pitcher Kaleb Woltz, who ended the game with a full-count strikeout with the crowd on their feet.

Though the Knights came out on top of this back-and-forth game, the Pickles showed they came to Corvallis to play. With still two games to be played this weekend to determine the series winner, it’s fair to say it’s anyone’s ballgame.

Was this article helpful?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Daily Barometer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *