Yakima, Wash. -- A night after hitting four home runs en route to a dramatic 8-5 win, the Gresham GreyWolves fell to the Yakima Valley Pippins 4-1 on Friday night in Yakima, Washington.
Yakima took an early lead with two runs in the first inning off Gresham starter Jarrod Billig. Those two runs would prove to be enough. Billig (1-2) would surrender another run in the third inning. He went three innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out four and walking two and suffering the loss.
On the other side, Yakima starter Kade Woods was very good. He was pulled with two outs in the eighth inning. The only blemish to his line was a solo home run off the bat of Tyler Parker in the fourth inning, his third home run of the season and Gresham's sixth of the series. Prior to the series, the Yakima Valley pitching staff was the only West Coast League staff yet to surrender a home run this season. In all, Woods threw 7 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out five and walking one. Woods (2-1) earned his second win of the season.
After Pippins head coach Marcus McKimmy pulled his starter with two outs in the eighth inning, closer Connor White entered for a four-out save. He walked a batter in the ninth but did not allow a run. White struck out two batters while picking up his third save of the season and second of the series.
The deciding factor in this game was two-out hitting. Three of the four runs scored by the Pippins came with two outs on the scoreboard. In the first, a two-out, bases-loaded single off the bat of Steven Sordahl scored the first two runs of the game. After Billig recorded the first two outs of the third inning, three straight hits scored the third run of the game.
On the other side, the GreyWolves left six runners on base. Five of the six runners left on were stranded in scoring position and four times the GreyWolves had a runner on second base with fewer than two outs. Gresham did not move any of those runners around the bases to score.
On the positive side for the GreyWolves, Christian Peters threw five good innings in relief of Billig. In those five innings, Peters allowed one run on three hits. It was indubitably the best appearance of the season for Peters, who struggled in his first two starts of the year.
The 4-1 loss on Friday night means the GreyWolves also lose the series vs. the Pippins and Gresham has now lost six of its last seven games. The GreyWolves drop to 6-9 on the year and with every other South Division team either idle of victorious on Friday, Gresham is now 4.5 games behind the division-leading Corvallis Knights.
Up next for the GreyWolves is a three-game series in Wenatchee vs. the AppleSox. The series in Wenatchee is the first of six-consecutive games the two teams will play against each other with a day off in between the two series. The AppleSox are 7-8 on the year and have lost two-straight games.