The Yakima Valley Pippins used two two-run home runs to take down the Sweets Wednesday by a score of 6-4.
Alex Shanks, who hit a two-run home run in the first game of the series, added to his total with another two-run blast to left in the top of the fourth. Mason Marenco launched the other two-run home run for the Pippins in the sixth that would ultimately be the deciding factor.
Alex Fernandes got the scoring started for the Pippins in the second inning. After Shanks reached base as part of a three-hit night, Fernandes drove him and Chase Graves in on a single to right-center just out of the reach of the second baseman Cameron Butler.
The Sweets were quick to respond in the bottom half of the second inning. Colin Wetterau led off the inning with an opposite field double. Will Grimm drove him in one pitch later on a groundball into right field, picking up his 10th RBI in the process.
Shanks was not the only player to hit a home run in the fourth. In his first game as a Sweet, Matthew Clark launched a two-run shot over the left field fence in his second at-bat as a Sweet.
Clark finished the game 1-for-4, but also had a long flyout to left center. On top of playing efficiently in center, Clark was happy with his performance in his debut.
“It felt great to get that first home run,” Clark said. “I felt comfortable throughout the night and am glad I was able to deliver.”
After the two-run home run by Marenco in the sixth, the Sweets would score one more run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Grimm. The Sweets sent the winning run to the plate in the ninth in Wetterau, but struck out with runners on first and second.
Travis Craven picked up his second loss of the year. He went four innings for the Sweets and allowed four earned runs. Kenny Johnson earned his third victory for the Pippins after going six innings and striking out six batters.
In relief, Owen Wild pitched effectively and earned his second consecutive three inning save. He struck out six batters and allowed one earned run, throwing 63 pitches out of the bullpen.
For the Sweets, Connor Cirillo, Caden Kaelber and Eric Romo combined for five innings in relief. The trio struck out six batters while allowing just two runs on four hits.
The Sweets fall to 9-12 with the loss, while the Pippins finish their first half 15-9. The Sweets have an off day Thursday before hosting the Portland Pickles this weekend starting Friday evening.