By Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 14, 2015, Bend, Oregon (ISN) – After dropping the first two games of their West Coast League three-game series with the Bend Elks by a combined score of 29-6, the Victoria HarbourCats could have been forgiven Sunday if all they wanted to do was get out of town with a respectable loss, no injuries and a minimal amount of stress on what had to be a tired pitching staff.
PJ Floyd had a single in the top of the sixth to cash in the winning run in the HarbourCats 4-3 win over Bend on Sunday (File Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Well they did one better than that, getting a solid start from Sean O’Toole and great relief work from Alex Rogers and Josh Mitchell to salvage a 4-3 win over the league leading Elks (now 7-2) at vince Genna Stadium in Bend on Sunday afternoon.
O’Toole went five innings in this one, giving up all three Bend runs in the bottom of the third, the only inning he really struggled in. He would scatter eight hits on the day, walking two and striking out two, before giving way to Alex Rogers in the sixth.
The Victoria offence, who struggled to score in the 5-1 defeat Saturday, would respond in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs, sparked first by a lead-off home run from slugger Gabe Clark, his first of the season. Austin Guibor would then reach on an error and eventually come in to score to cut the Bend lead to 3-2.
In the top of the sixth, the ‘Cats would strike again for a pair, thanks this time to an RBI ground out from Reno Rankin that scored Jackson Thoreson, who had reached on a walk, and and RBI single from PJ Floyd to score Guibor, who had reached on a double.
Jackson Thoreson, batting here last week against Kitsap, had a pair of hits and a run scored in the ‘Cats 4-3 win over Bend on Sunday (File Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That 4-3 lead would be all Victoria would need, as Alex Rogers pitched two innings of scoreless relief to set up Josh Mitchell, who also came in to pitch two innings of scoreless relief in the eighth and ninth to get the save.
Both Rogers and Mitchell allowed just a single hit each, while striking out two each. Their solid work made a winner out of O’Toole, who was the pitcher of record when the ‘Cats went ahead in the sixth, earning him his first win of the 2015 season.
With the win, the ‘Cats improve to 4-5 and they sit in second place in the West Division, 1.5 games back of division leading Bellingham. They will look to improve on that mark as they now head to Cowlitz to take on the 1-5 Black Bears in a three game set starting Monday night.
Lefty Josh Mitchell is becoming a dominant force on the mound for Victoria and went two strong innings Sunday to get the save against Bend (File Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
GAME NOTES: After a scorching start with the HarbourCats, outfielder Kevin Collard was just 2 for 12 against Bend, but still leads the team in batting at .417. Austin Guibor is heating up and has hits in his last four games including going 3 for 7 against Bend. His .400 average is second on the team.