Eighth Inning Comeback Evens Up Series with Pippins

YAKIMA, Wash. — Walla Walla scored two runs in the top of the eighth to take the lead and win the game 4-3. It is the third win of the season in which the Sweets took the lead in the eighth inning or later.

Down one run in the top of the eighth, Luka Ruljancich singled to right field with two runners on to load the bases. Both runners got aboard earlier with walks. In the next at bat, Hayden Driggs popped a ball up in right field that was deep enough to bring home JJ Moran to score the tying run. Ryan Prescott moved up to third on the sacrifice fly as well.

In the next at bat, Prescott scored the winning run on a wild pitch. While not a walk-off like the one against Port Angeles, it is the second win for the Sweets when the winning run is scored off a wild pitch.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Pippins put two runners on, threatening the Sweets’ lead, but a nice lineout double play by third baseman Kennedy Hara ended the inning and kept the Sweets in front.

In the ninth, the Pippins got another baserunner, but the Sweets shut Yakima Valley down, winning 4-3.

Walla Walla scored their first two runs off an RBI single in the second from Easton O’Neal bringing home Moran and a sacrifice bunt from Stevie Hom in the fifth bringing home Driggs.

At the plate, Yakima Valley outhit the Sweets 11-4, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of the game. The Sweets were four times at the dish, which is tied for the most times they’ve been hit this season. Walla Walla was also walked five times and had two players reach via errors and one fielder’s choice. In total, the Sweets had more baserunners in the game, edging out the Pippins 16-15.

On the mound, Nate Naccarato earned the win improving to 1-1 on the season. The righty from Ottawa University pitched the final 4.1 innings and allowed just one run off five hits, one walk and struck out one. Liam Hohenstein started the game, tossed 4.2 innings and struck out a season high six batters.

With the win, the Sweets improve to 4-9 on the year and even up the series one-game a piece with the Yakima Valley Pippins. Walla Walla now has a chance to win their first series of the season in the grudge match on Monday.

First pitch on Monday is set for 6:35 p.m. and the Sweets coverage of the game can be found on Mixlr.com.

By: Cooper Huskey

Date: June 16, 2024