HarbourCats use ninth inning rally to even Series

Story by Josh Kozelj 


YAKIMA, WA — The Victoria HarbourCats were one strike away from losing back to back games to the Yakima Valley Pippins, but used a frantic two out rally to save their season and defeat the North division leaders 8-4 at Yakima County Stadium.

One night after jumping out to an early lead, the HarbourCats once again drew first blood in the top of the first.

Nick Plaia led off the game with a four pitch walk, and one batter later Dustin Miller smacked a double to the wall that scored Plaia and gave the visitors a one run advantage.

Victoria would cling to an one run lead until the fifth when Miller’s second RBI base hit of the evening doubled the lead, while on the hill Gunnar Friend provided yet another strong start.

The righty out of Avila held the Pippins scoreless through four, extending his scoreless inning streak to 13 dating back to July 18, before Yakima finally broke through in the bottom half to end the streak.

Tyler Lasch’s two-run single tied the game in the frame, and two innings later the Pippins took the lead for the fist time. Yakima put two men in scoring position with no outs, and after Victoria recorded two quick outs, Kyle Dean came through for the home team with a clutch two-out RBI single to give Yakima a 4-2 lead heading to the eighth.

Connor White came in for relief of Yakima starting pitcher Jack Gonzales, who went seven innings of two run ball while collecting five strikeouts in the process, and struggled against the heart of the HarbourCats order in the ninth.

White put a zero on the board in the eighth, but coming back up again in the ninth for a save opportunity couldn’t contain the top four batters in the Victoria lineup who combined for seven RBI on the night.

The first three HarbourCats batters all reached in the inning off White, after a strikeout to get one out on the board, Plaia hit a deep sac-fly to bring Victoria within one run.

Miller then came up with two outs, and after being down to the final strike of the game, smacked his second RBI double of the game to give Victoria a decisive  5-4 lead.

The HarbourCats then plated three more runs all with two outs, and Tyler Yoshihara pitched a scoreless ninth to even the series at one game apiece.

With the win, Victoria climbed to within four games of Yakima Valley for first place in the division with seven games left in the season. The HarbourCats will send Ethan Fox to the mound tonight in the finale, first pitch is scheduled for 7:05.

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