Corvallis, Ore. — After trailing 3-0 early, the Pickles woke up to take the rubber game from the Knights 13-5 at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field.
The game started a half hour later than originally scheduled, as fans in the stadium watched on the scoreboard in right-center field as the Oregon State Beavers clinched their third national championship, defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Michael Frias started for Portland and was rudely greeted with a 3-run frame by the home Knights, that included another defensive error. But the Pickles quickly responded, scoring four runs in the top of the second inning. Joey Cooper and Gabe Skoro walked, and Noah Cardenas scored Cooper with a double to right field. Davis Delorefice plated Skoro with a groundout, and Gio Diaz tied the game with a single to left that scored Cardenas. Zander Clarke squared up a pitch for a two-out knock that scored Diaz and gave Portland a 4-3 lead.
Frias settled in after the rocky first, allowing one more run through the fourth. Meanwhile his offense continued to produce with another four-run inning in the top of the fourth. Delorefice and Diaz both singled, and after a sac bunt and a pop out, Mikey Perez blasted a ball off the left field wall for a two-out two-run double, making it 6-3 Portland. Cooper laced a double to right-center that scored Perez, and Skoro followed with a two-out knock that plated Cooper and made it 8-3 road team. Corvallis hit a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth cutting the deficit to 8-4.
Another two-out hit by Clarke scored Sam Novitske in the fifth, and consecutive hits by Brody Barnum, Skoro and Cardenas helped score two more runs in the sixth for a 11-4 lead. Corvallis added another solo shot to make it a 11-5 game through six.
Cooper added another RBI to score Clarke and Perez scored on a wild pitch for a two-run seventh inning, the fourth straight inning with at least a run for Portland and a 13-5 lead.
Connor Pellerin (W 3-1) pitched four strong innings of relief, allowing one run, and Brad Bonnefant pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the 13-5 victory.
Clarke led the Pickles offensively with a 4-for-6 night, all singles, knocking in two runs and scoring a run. Sam Novitske drew three walks, Gio Diaz went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs, and Joey Cooper finished 3-for-5 with and RBI and two runs himself. Gabe Skoro went 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI. Noah Cardenas was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
Portland knocked out 17 hits in the win, two nights after pounding out 17 runs on 21 hits in the series opener. For the three games the Pickles totaled 34 runs and 44 base hits.
The Pickles are 12-8 overall, tied with Corvallis in the West Coast League South Division, a half-game behind the Walla Walla Sweets (13-8) for the first-half division lead. Walla Walla visits Corvallis for three games starting Friday.
The Pickles are coming home after playing 9 straight West Coast League games on the road. Friday begins a three-game weekend series with the Bend Elks. First pitch is 7:05pm on AM 860 The Answer. Gates open from Walker Stadium at 6:05pm.
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