The Victoria HarbourCats (22-18, 8-5 second half) and the Bellingham Bells (21-18, 5-7) engaged in another slugfest on Friday night, and this time it was Bellingham coming out on top to avoid the series sweep with a 10-7 win.
The HarbourCats sent all-star right-hander Adam McKillican (UBC) and his 4-0 record to the mound looking for the series sweep. The Courtenay, BC native had allowed more than one run in an outing just twice this season, but the Bells seemed to have his number on this night.
Bellingham reversed the script from Thursday’s game when the HarbourCats jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, scoring four times in the bottom of the first in Friday, seizing a quick 4-0 advantage. Catcher Chase Illig (West Virginia) started the scoring with a three-run home run, his eighth of the season.
The Bells added a run in the second with a solo home run from center fielder Austin Pinorini (Bellevue CC), his second of the season.
McKillican was able to deliver a pair of scoreless innings, but Illig connected again again in the fifth inning on his second home run of the game, a two-run shot, giving him a game-high five RBIs and extending Bellingham’s lead to seven.
McKillican would go five innings, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Bells starting right-hander Patrick Siler (Everett CC) made quick work of Victoria’s bats through four perfect and five no-hit innings in his first start of the season.
The HarbourCats were able to solve Siler in the sixth inning, striking for four runs, capped by a three-run home run from first baseman Po-Hao Huang (Taiwan), his first of the season to cut Bellingham’s lead to 7-4.
The respective bullpens had difficulty in the sixth and seventh innings, with Bellingham coming back with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth, and the HarbourCats countering with three in the seventh inning to bring the score to 10-7 for Bellingham.
Scoring in the top of the seventh was highlighted by consecutive RBI singles from center fielder Sam Cachola (Cal Berkeley) and shortstop Cole Weiss (UNC Wilmington).
The HarbourCats had the bases loaded with none out, down three in the inning, but Bells left-hander Arman Sabouri (Cal Berkeley) retired three straight with two strikeouts to keep Bellingham in front.
Bellingham held the HarbourCats scoreless in the final two frames, sealing the win. Right-hander Luke Manuel (New Mexico JC) worked a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts for his fifth save of the season.
Siler earns the win (1-0) for Bellingham, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on three hits and three walks with six strikeouts.
McKillican takes his first loss (4-1) for the HarbourCats.
The loss decreases the HarbourCats lead on the West Coast League North Division second half standings to one game momentarily over the Wenatchee AppleSox, who were still playing at press time.
The HarbourCats now head to Oregon to begin a three-game series with the Gresham GreyWolves beginning on Saturday night beginning at 6:35pm.