Corvallis, Ore. —
An 8-run seventh inning that featured defensive mistakes and inaccurate pitching doomed the Pickles on Wednesday, suffering a 9-4 defeat in game two of the series with the Corvallis Knights.
The loss drops the Pickles to 11-8 overall, a full game behind Corvallis (12-7) and Walla Walla (13-8) for first place in the West Coast League South Division. Eight games remain in the season’s first half, with the division winner at that time clinching a playoff spot.
Zander Clarke provided fireworks with a 3-run home run in the fifth inning that gave Portland a 4-1 lead. The inning started with a Gio Diaz single up the middle, extending his hit streak to 8 straight games in the WCL, and ten games overall. He has also reached base in 12 straight WCL contests, 14 overall. Carson Breshears followed with a walk that set the stage for Clarke.
The 4-1 lead held until the seventh. Leo Nierenberg opened with a strikeout, but then a dropped fly ball in center starting shifting the momentum for the home team. Three straight singles followed, two of them infield hits, and a fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop was thrown away into right field allowing a pair of runs to score. Corvallis drew threw consecutive walks after that, two of them scoring runs with the bases loaded, and two more run scoring singles ensued. Ultimately, 13 hitters came to bat in the frame for the Knights and 8 runs scored - all of them were unearned.
Portland couldn’t answer in the 8th or 9th, resulting in the 9-4 defeat.
That sets up a rubber game Thursday at 6:30pm from Goss Stadium at Coleman Field on the campus of Oregon State University. Follow the team on Facebook and twitter and instagram @PicklesBaseball, or at PortlandPicklesBaseball.com.