Portland, Ore. --
The pitching staff was nails once again, the offense produced early and often, and the Portland Pickles (6-3 2nd half; 23-12 overall) swept the Kelowna Falcons with an 8-2 win Sunday afternoon at Walker Stadium.
The Pickles shutout the Falcons in 24 of the 27 innings on the weekend, and kept them hitless Sunday until two outs in the top of the fifth. Jack Dolak started on the hill, pitching three innings of hitless, scoreless baseball while striking out three. Michael Frias (W 1-0) dazzled in relief, throwing three innings of shutout ball while needing only twenty-eight pitches to do so, landing twenty-five of them for strikes. Alex Roth went two innings without a run and Adam Davenport finished things off with two runs (one earned) in the ninth.
Portland took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning off Kelowna starter Stone Churby (L 1-2), as Carson Breshears reached on an error and Sam Novitske walked. Gio Diaz scored Breshears with a sacrifice fly to center for the first run.
In the second, Daniel Lopez earned a one-out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then third on a groundout. Jace McKinney then beat out a ground ball to third base for an infield single with two outs that scored Lopez to make it 2-0. McKinney stole second, then scored another two-out run on an RBI knock by Carson Breshears to make it 3-0.
Gio Diaz connected for a solo homer to left to lead off the sixth and make it 4-0 Portland for his fifth home run of the year.
Three more scored in the seventh for Portland as McKinney plated Lopez with a sac fly, Sam Novitske ripped a double to left-center that scored Carson Breshears, and Diaz followed with another RBI double to plate Novitkse and make it a 7-0 lead.
The Pickles added another in the bottom of the eighth, as Lopez singled and Daniel Edson connected for an RBI double to right field to score him and make it 8-0. The visitors scored two in the ninth to account for the final, 8-2.
The Pickles have won four in a row and five of their last six heading into the All-Star Break, and keep pace wtih Corvallis (5-2 2nd half) for first place in the South Division's second half. Portland is next in action Wednesday at Wenatchee for a three-game series with the AppleSox, then welcome Corvallis to Walker Stadium for a critical series that begins Saturday, July 21st.
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