Portland, OR--The Portland Pickles came out flat on Thursday night in front of a sell-out crowd at Walker Stadium against the Chico Heat. The Pickles were held to just three hits on the night, and the Heat won 3-1, behind a dominant performance from Jack Ralston and a third inning two-run home run from Cole Lemmel.
Ralston (2-0) was excellent for the Heat, going eight strong innings, allowing one run, walking four, and striking out seven. Grant Dragmire earned his second save of the season, pitching a hit-less ninth inning and striking out two Pickles batters.
Max Jones (3-3) had a quality performance for the Pickles in a losing effort, pitching six innings, allowing seven hits, three runs, and striking out seven. Nick Torres, Matt Olstead, Dustin Redish, and Zach Johnson combined for three hit-less innings out of the Pickles bullpen.
The Pickles lone run came on a Matt Starcovic RBI double in the seventh inning. Aside from Lemmel's homer, the Heat scored their only other run in in the first inning on an infield single from Caleb Van Blake, who also had a double on the night. Tanner Tokunaga finished with two hits on the night, including a ground rule double to lead-off the game.
The Pickles (22-24) host the Heat (27-19) tomorrow night in the middle game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05, and coverage will start at 7:00. The game can be heard on Sunny 1550 and will be streamed on picklesbaseball.com.