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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

July 12, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – After banging out seventeen hits on Friday night, the Victoria HarbourCats could only manage five against Medford Rogue pitcher Nathan Kuchta on Saturday afternoon, as the Rogue’s prevailed 4-1 in the rubber match of the team’s three game West Coast Leage series played at sun-drenched Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Medford pitcher Nathan Kuchta would be superb Saturday, holding the HarbourCats to just 1 run on 5 hits over his 8 and 1/3 innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Kuchta was dominant through the entire game, retiring the first six batters he faced, before hitting Bryce Greager to lead off the third. However Greager was erased on a fielders choice to Allan Baldwin, while Baldwin was then picked off first in a rundown. Kuchta then struck out Jake Lesinski to end the inning, facing just the minimum three batters.

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Medford second baseman Blaine Tanner chases Victoria baserunner Allan Baldwin back to first during a third inning rundown Saturday. Baldwin would eventually be tagged out on the play (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Kuchta’s only real trouble came in the bottom of the fourth, when Wyler Smith led off with a single, Alex DeGoti reached on an error and Hunter Mercado-Hood drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Sadly for the HarbourCats, just like Thursday night when the ‘Cats left the bases loaded four times, they failed again to come through in the clutch, as Kuchta retired the next two batters to escape the jam.

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Medford first baseman Victor Garcia would not be able to come up with this throw Saturday, allowing Victoria baserunner Wyler Smith to reach base during the fourth inning of Saturday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Meanwhile Victoria starter Logan Lombana was also having a quality outing, keeping Medford off the board over the first four innings and holding them to just two hits over that span. The Rogues though would break through on Lombana in the top of the fifth, on the strength of a lead-off double from Ryan Teel, singles from Spencer Smith and Yuto Kata, the latter of which scored Teel, and a sacrifice fly from Victor Garcia.

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Victoria starter Logan Lombana would have his second longest outing of the season Saturday, throwing for eight complete innings against the Rogues (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats would get one of those back in the bottom of the inning when Alan Baldwin would single and be driven home on a RBI single from DeGoti, but in turn, the Rogues would answer that salvo quickly when Nathan Etheridge led off the sixth with a solo home run, his third hit of the game, to make the score 3-1.

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Victoria’s Alex DeGoti would go opposite field with this 5th inning single to drive in the HarbourCats only run of the day on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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Medford’s Nathan Etheridge would have a good day at the plate with a pair of singles and a solo home run (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Lombana would pitch through a complete eight innings and be replaced by Alex Garcia in the ninth, who would surrender a lead-off walk to Teel. Teel would eventually move to third and come in to score on a wild pitch to put Medford up 4-1.

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Medford’s Spencer Smith would reach safely when this errant throw eluded the stretch from Victoria first baseman Gabe Clark (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That would be more than enough insurance, as Kuchta would retire the first Victoria batter in the ninth before hitting Aaron Barnett and being replaced by reliever Joe Record. Record would do his job and retire the next two batters to end the game and give the Rogues the rubber match of the series.

With the win, the Rogues move to 17-13 on the season and sit in third in the South Division, but just two games back of Division leading Corvallis. The HarbourCats drop to 13-17 and hold on to second in the West, ten games back of powerful Bellingham (22-6).

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Victoria second baseman Sean Watkins turns a double play, evading the slide from Medford’s Jeremy Goldenetz during the 8th inning Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Speaking of Bellingham, they are up next for the HarbourCats, as Victoria hits the road to begin a three-game series with the Bells on Monday. The ‘Cats return home on Thursday July 17th when they host the Klamath Falls Gems at Royal Athletic Park. Game time is 7:11 pm.

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