Portland, OR--The Chico Heat came out hot on Saturday night at Walker Stadium, jumping out to a 7-0 lead after the third inning. The Pickles rallied to cut the lead to three in the eighth inning, but were unable to complete the comeback. The Heat won by a final score of 9-6.
Matt Hardy led the Pickles offense with an RBI single in the sixth and a solo home run in the eighth. Renner Stecki had a two-run pinch-hit single in the sixth, and Tyler Stofiel drove in two runs on a single in the eighth. Zander Clarke finished with two hits on the nigh for Portland.
Hardy (4-1) earned the loss on the mound, allowing seven runs in six innings, and striking out six batters. It was his first pitching loss in two seasons of GWL play. Tate Budnick did not allow a hit over the final two innings of the game.
Tanner Tokunaga led the Heat with three hits and two RBIs on the night. Cole Lemmel had two hits, including a two-run home run in the seventh inning, that gave the Heat the breathing room needed to win the game.
Mikey Wright (2-3) earned the win for Chico, going six innings, allowing three runs, and striking out seven Pickles batters. Samson Abernathy earned his fourth save, pitching the ninth inning and striking out two.
The Pickles (23-25) are off Sunday and Monday for the All-Star break in Chico, where they will be represented by five players. They play the Lincoln Potters Tuesday night at McBean Stadium. 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.