Victoria uses seven-run sixth to earn 21st win of the season
LONGVIEW, WA—The Victoria HarbourCats began a midweek series against the Cowlitz Black Bears on Wednesday night at David Story Field in Longview, WA. It is the second series of the season between the two teams after the HarbourCats swept three games from the Black Bears at Royal Athletic Park on June 17-19.
Right-hander Cameron Schneider (Cal Poly/0-0, 1.80 ERA) made his first start of the season in his third overall appearance for the HarbourCats. Righty Chander Greenfield (Washington State/0-1, 3.70 ERA) took his third start on the mounld for Cowlitz.
The Black Bears, who finished the first half 12-15, for third place in the West Coast League South Division, jumped on Schneider early, capitalizing on a one-out walk and a two-out single when third baseman Yeager Taylor (UC Riverside) hit a three-run home run, his first of the season to give Cowlitz the early three-run lead.
The HarbourCats solved Greenfield for the first time in the top of the third when center fielder Jake Stone (Fresno State) led off the inning with a single and, after taking second on a passed ball, scored on an RBI single by shortstop Tommy Jew (UC Santa Barbara) to cut the Cowlitz lead to 3-1.
After loading the bases with nobody out in the top of the fifth, on two hits and a walk, the HarbourCats drew to within a run when right fielder AJ Alcantara (UC Irvine) scored on a double play ball off the bat of Jew to make it 3-2 Black Bears.
That would spell the end of the day for Chandler Greenfield who pitched 4.2 innings for Cowlitz, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Left-hander Devin McKesson (UC Riverside) relieved Greenfield and ended the top of the fifth with no further damage.
After the three-run first, Schneider settled in on the mound for the HarbourCats, retiring 10 consecutive batters before a leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth by Cowlitz center fielder Colin Winn (Santa Ana College) broke the string. With Winn on third with two out, Schneider recorded his ninth strikeout of the game to keep the deficit at one.
After chipping away slowly for the first five innings, the HarbourCats offence would put together a game-breaking top of the sixth, scoring seven runs on four hits and taking advantage of six walks issued by Cowlitz pitchers in the inning to take a commanding 9-3 lead. Catcher Joe Prior (Fresno State), Alcantara, and Matt Smith (Sacramento State), who pinch-hit for left fielder Jarron Silva (UCLA), all contributed RBI singles in the inning. Jew also drove in his second run on a sac fly and two runs scored on bases loaded walks.
Left-hander Akaash Agarwal (UC Berkeley) provided some stability for Cowlitz, recording all three outs in the top of the sixth and going on to work three innings allowing one run on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
HarbourCats left-hander Jack Wolger (UC Berkeley) relieved Schneider to begin the bottom of the sixth dealing and was outstanding in his fourth appearance, working three perfect innings with two strikeouts, sending the game into the ninth with Victoria still in front 9-3.
In his sixth appearance of the season, right-hander Skyler Henderson (Vernon College) retired the Black Bears in order in the ninth inning to secure the 9-3 win.
Schneider earned the win for the HarbourCats (1-0) with a line of three earned runs on four hits and a walk with nine strikeouts, while right-handed reliever Riley Ohl (Nevada) took the loss (0-2) for Cowlitz surrendering six earned runs on three hits and three walks while not recording an out.
With the win, the HarbourCats improve to 21-4 in the first half.
The series continues night in Longview with HarbourCats right-hander Austin Dondanville (Cal Poly/3-0, 0.83 ERA) facing Cowlitz right-hander Kevin Baker (Portland/2-0, 0.77 ERA). First pitch is at David Story Field in Longview, WA.