Portland, OR--The Portland Pickles were able to hold on for the victory on Friday night against the Chico Heat 9-8 to force the decisive game three on Saturday night. The Pickles led 8-2 early before the Heat scored five runs in the sixth inning. The Pickles then scored four in the fifth to pull away for good.
Matt Hardy led the Pickles offense with a sixth inning home run and three hits on the night. Bobby Kinne also had three hits. Daniel Lopez hit an RBI double in the second inning and also drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the fifth. Tate Budnick drove in two runs on a single in the second inning.
Josh Hendrickson (7-1) earned the win for Portland, pitching five innings, allowing two runs, walking four and striking out nine. He leads the Great West League in both wins (7) and strikeouts (80) in 10 starts. Dustin Redish earned his fifth save, allowing just one run over the final three innings of the game and striking out six.
Justin Watland (2-4) took the loss for the Heat. He allowing six runs in four innings. Tanner Tokunaga, Caleb Van Blake, Joe Bath, and Brandon De La Guardia all had three hits for Chico, with Tokunaga also hitting a home run in the third inning. He finished with two RBIs on the night, as did Cole Lemmel, who had two hits.
The Pickles (23-24) host the Heat (27-20) tomorrow night in the series finale. 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.