The Sweets’ losing streak reached a season-high five games on Tuesday night when they fell 5-4 to the Gresham GreyWolves at Oslund Field in Gresham.
The Sweets out-hit the ‘Wolves 9-6 and rallied impressively in the late innings. But ultimately, they had dug themselves too deep of a hole early on.
Gresham scored without a hit in the first inning. CF Mike Peabody (UC-Irvine) worked a leadoff walk against Sweets starter RHP Travis Ulvestad (Seattle). Peabody, who finished Monday’s game 5-for-5, stole second, stole third, and scored on a wild pitch.
Gresham’s big inning, however, was a four-run second. C Jackson Thoreson (St. Mary’s) walked to lead off. Then with one out, the Wolves got a single from DH R.J. Teijeiro (UCLA), before a Sweets fielding error loaded the bases.
3B Jordan Barchus (Lower Columbia CC) doubled in Thoreson and Teijeiro, pushing the lead to 3-0 Gresham. Then, an RBI groundout from Peabody and a run-scoring single from SS Alec deWatteville (Sacramento State) grew Gresham’s advantage to 5-0.
But after the second inning, the ‘Wolves were done scoring. Three Sweets relievers – RHP Patrick Stanton (Whitman), RHP Justin Dolezal (Western Oregon), and LHP Isaac Esqueda (Southern California) – conspired to blank the Gresham bats for the final 6.1 innings.
Stanton, in particular, stood out. He tossed four scoreless innings, his longest outing of the season. He allowed three hits and no walks, while striking out two.
Meanwhile, Gresham pitcher RHP Alex Roth (Western Oregon) pitched deep into the ballgame. For the second straight night, Gresham’s starter worked into the seventh inning. In 6+ frames, Roth surrendered two runs on eight hits while walking two and punching out eight.
Still, the Sweets broke through with a four-run rally of their own in the top of the seventh. LF Ryan Johnston (UC-Irvine) worked a leadoff walk. Behind him, RF J.J. Hancock (Washington State) doubled.
With runners on second and third, the ‘Wolves went to the bullpen and summoned LHP Ryan Mets (Oregon State), who proceeded to hit 3B Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga) with a pitch to load the bases before walking DH Jake Suddleson (Harvard) and forcing in a run. After a two-run single from 1B John Glenn (Cal Baptist), Mets was removed with the Sweets having cut the deficit to 5-3.
The next arm was LHP Carter Buuck (Linfield). Although an RBI groundout from 2B Vinny Capra (Richmond) pulled the Sweets to within one, Buuck was lockdown in the latter innings.
Buuck worked three scoreless innings, vanquishing the Sweets. The only inning in which Walla Walla failed to put runners on base was the ninth.
With the loss, the Sweets fall below .500 on the season. They are 1-5 in the second half and 16-17 overall.
Meanwhile, Gresham, after its first series win in over a month, improves to 3-5 in the second half (13-22 overall).
Roth (1-1) wins the ballgame. Ulvestad (0-1) loses. Buuck records his second save.
Hancock and Capra finish with two hits each in the loss.
The Sweets will attempt to get back in the win column when they open up a five-game homestand before the All-Star break.
The Port Angeles Lefties come to town for games Wednesday and Thursday nights at Borleske. The Bend Elks will follow over the weekend.
RHP Chris Lincoln (UC Santa Barbara) and LHP Tim Josten (Cal State Fullerton) will pitch the first and second games of the Port Angeles series, respectively.
The Sweets are 0-4 this season against the last-place Lefties.
First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Glenn two-run single
Sweets Scoop -- J.J. Hancock