BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Victoria HarbourCats average better than six runs per game, second-best in the West Coast League, and are tops in the league in home runs with 35.
Neither offensive mark felt any resistance on Friday as the HarbourCats cruised to a 9-2 win over the Bells in Bellingham, in front of 1,506 fans.
Dustin Topoozian went seven scoreless innings, walking one and giving up five hits while striking out eight batters, winning his sixth game.
But he had an easy time of things, watching his offense put up two runs in the first inning and a four-spot in the second inning, thanks to a slew of doubles and some shoddy Bellingham glovework. The Bells finished with three errors, two more than the HarbourCats. The HarbourCats outhit the Bells 13-8.
Shawn Andersen relieved Topoozian and gave up the two runs, as Bellingham put up a run in each of the eighth and ninth innings.
Single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings — the latter on a Kevin Collard solo home run his seventh — gave the HarbourCats a healthy cushion.
Collard continues to roll through the league, as he was 3-5 with four runs and two driven in. Austin Guibor had three RBIs, Griffin Andreychuk was 2-5 with two runs and an RBI, and MIchael Gretler had a 2-4 night with one RBI.
Victoria is now 28-23 on the season and 14-11 on the road, both team records for success. The HarbourCats are two games out of the wild card spot with two games to play, but because the WCL has ruled the home game against Walla Walla that was rained out will not be replayed, and that winning percentage will determine playoff positions, the HarbourCats can earn that spot by winning out this weekend (games Saturday and Sunday in Bellingham) and hoping for help from the Medford Rogues, who face Corvallis three times this weekend, with three Knights losses needed to let the HarbourCats sneak in. In an odd scheduling situation, the Knights were offFriday and will host the Rogues for a game on Saturday and two games on Sunday (not sure if they are both nine-inning games, or a pair of sevens), with rain in the forecast for Sunday.
The Yakima Valley Pippins are also mathematically alive for the final playoff spot, also needing Corvallis to lose all three games and having to sweep a weekend series, which they started with a Friday win of their own.
The HarbourCats are due to send Austin Dondanville to the mound on Saturday in the second game of the series, and Matt Blais on Sunday.
Should the HarbourCats make the playoffs, they would host a game Tuesday at Sports Traders Diamond at RAP on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 6:35pm, and tickets would go on sale Monday morning at9am. More details to come Sunday night, if necessary.
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