Chico, CA---Despite another solid performance, the Portland Pickles ended up on the losing end to the Chico Heat Saturday night in Nettleton Stadium, losing 5-3. The series is now tied at one game apiece. Pickles pitchers combined to walk 11 Heat batters on the night, and also hit two batters with pitches.
Daniel Lopez went yard for the second straight night, on a solo shot in the ninth inning and also doubled home a run in the fourth inning. Aidan Malm had an RBI single in the fourth inning and had two hits on the night for the Pickles.
Cole Lemmel led the Heat with three hits and an RBI and Brandon De La Guardia drove in two runs on the night. Jordan Vujovich had an RBI walk and a run scored in his Heat debut. Tanner Tokunaga drew three walks on the game.
Pickles starting pitcher Andrew Eppenbach (0-1) struggled in his return to the Pickles, allowing three runs and five walks, and didn't make it out of the first inning. Matt Hicks, Mitch Maynes, and Sam Muskat combined for 7.1 innings of two run ball.
Chico starter Austin Lee (3-0) earned the win for the Heat, allowing two runs in six innings and striking out four Pickles batters. Andrew Schantz earned his second save of the season, pitching the ninth.
The Pickles (7-10) play Chico (11-6) again tomorrow night in the series finale at Nettleton Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05, and coverage will start at 7:00. The game can be heard on Sunny 1550, and streaming on picklesbaseball.com.