Gresham, Ore. -- The Gresham GreyWolves built a 5-0 lead through four innings but ultimately fell 8-5 to the Corvallis Knights on Thursday night at Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.
Gresham started hot in both phases of the game. After starter Robert Reaser threw a scoreless first inning, the GreyWolves took the lead in the second when Conner Bock hit an opposite-field home run with two outs. With a 1-0 lead, Reaser kept retiring the Knights in order to allow his offense to add on.
In the fourth, Gresham scored twice more after Jackson Thoreson and Tyler Parker singled to open the frame. Two outs later, Jake Cosgrove was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two outs and two strikes, Cameron Briggs singled up the middle to score two and give the GreyWolves a 3-0 lead.
Another scoreless (and hitless inning) by Reaser in the fourth put the Gresham offense right back on the field in the fifth and they scored two more. Aaron Simpson led off the inning with a single and with one out, Thoreson doubled off the wall in center to score Simpson. Thoreson then scored when Bock blooped a single that dropped in between three Knights in shallow center field to give Gresham a 5-0 lead.
That's the largest the lead would grow to and the final run the GreyWolves would score on Thursday.
In the bottom of the fifth, Zak Taylor of the Knights hit a line drive into the corner in deep right field. The right fielder, Jake Palmer, dove headlong and make a spectacular catch to preserve what was, at the time, a potential no-hitter for Reaser. The very next batter, though, Gabe Matthews sent the eighth pitch of his at-bat over the fence in right-center field to deny Reaser a no-hitter and shutout with just one swing.
The Knights would only score one in the fifth, but the offense wasn't done. In the sixth inning, the first seven batters reached base (five against Reaser and two against reliever Christian Peters) and the first six scored. An error cost the GreyWolves a run, too, but the Knights knocked the ball around in the inning to the tune of six hits (five singles and one double).
Reaser finished his outing with recording an out in the fifth inning, allowing six runs (five earned) while walking one and striking out five. Reaser (1-5) suffered the defeat on Thursday.
Ryan Novis drew a walk to start the top of the eighth inning and then stole second base but three srtaight outs ended the threat. The Knights added another in the bottom of the eighth en route to the 8-5 victory.
The loss drops Gresham's second-half record to 9-11 and with the Cowlitz Black Bears losing for a second-consecutive night, the GreyWolves stay four games back of a playoff spot in the South Division of the West Coast League with just seven games remaining.
Gresham now has a record of 10-6 in game twos of series and drop to 1-23 when trailing after six innings of play.
The rubber match of the series versus the Knights is set for 6:40 p.m. on Friday in Corvallis. The game will be broadcast on mixlr.com/greywolves.