Kelowna took a shortened game one victory 5-1 in just seven innings on Saturday afternoon.
Game two was also a seven-inning contest as well.
Bells fans made sure game one of a two-game double header felt like an away contest for Kelowna, in the unconventional double-header at Joe Martin Field. After the June 3 contest was rained out, the Bells were deemed the away team at Joe Martin Field and the stands were far from sporting Falcons gear.
Kelowna was able to climb onto the scoreboard first with a solo homerun to left field. With one out on a 3-2 count Garrett Kelly got a pitch he liked, hitting just the second homer off of Nick Nastrini’s solid 2018 campaign.
Soon-to-be UCLA teammate Matt McLain had Nastrini’s back, collecting another two-out RBI base hit with Connor Mack on second base to even up the score at 1-1.
McLain has been one of Bellingham’s most prolific hitters with runners in scoring position. Though McLain (21 games) joined the team in the second half of the season, his RBI single in the top of the third tied him for second-most on the team with 22 RBIs.
After giving up just the one mistake on the homerun ball through three innings, Nastrini ran into a bit of a wall in the top of the fourth. An error, a hit-by-pitch, an infield single, another hit-by-pitch, and a double gave the Falcons a 4-1 advantage and ended Nastrini’s day.
Trevor DeLaite came in with runners on second and nobody out and masterfully retired three straight Kelowna batters to officially close the books on Nastrini’s responsibilities.
DeLaite was not able to escape a similar situation in the bottom of the fifth, giving up an RBI single with nobody out and runners on second and third. However, Jordan Stoner’s perfect throw on a play at the plate, limited the damage to just one run as the Falcons extended their lead to 5-1.
In the shortened contest, Bellingham was unable to score in the final two innings. However, the squad looked to climb back into the series with game two starting at 6:35 pm.
A five-spot in the bottom of the fourth inning proved to be the major blow in a 10-4 victory for Bellingham.
Kelowna was able to jump on the scoreboard first again in game two, taking advantage of a pair of walks from Bellingham starting pitcher Johnny Wiltfang. Dan Pruitt gave Bellingham problems on Friday night and proved to be an early nuisance once again, collecting an RBI single to centerfield with runners on the corners.
Bellingham was able to pounce on Kelowna’s blunder. With one down, Matt McLain’s routine fly ball to center field went in and out of Lucas Soper’s glove. Zach Needham cashed in with a two-out RBI single to left field, knotting the game up 1-1.
Cody Pasic drew a lead off walk in the top of the second inning. Jordan Stoner bunted Pasic over to scoring position. A passed ball and deep flyball to right field later, Landen Kimbro had and RBI sac-fly and a 2-1 advantage.
Bellingham scored in the bottom of third, via balls to the outfield. McLain was first with a shot to split the right-center field gap. As he stood at second, Ernie Yake hit a deep fly ball to right field, advancing McLain to third. Needham and McLain paired up for the second time as Needham was able to hit the second baseman in with a sac-fly to right field.
Kelowna was able to respond in the top of the fourth inning as WIltfang couldn’t recover from a lead off double. The tall-right hander did get the next batter, but two consecutive base hits and a walk to load the bases brought an end to his day. Wiltfang finished the day with 3.1 innings of work, two earned runs on five hits, three walks, and striking out three in the no decision.
Carson Olson came into the ballgame with the bases loaded and threw a first pitch that rolled all the way to backstop, as Kelowna tied the game up 3-3.
Bellingham then took the lead after batting around in the bottom of the fourth and never looked back. Stoner who started the inning off with a single, was able to score the first run of the inning on a wild pitch that reached that backstop. McLain would later add a run to his RBI total on an infield single. Matt James final broke open the door with a bases-loaded double that scored all three on the base paths, as the Bells took an 8-3 lead.
The Falcons were able to score a run in the top of the fifth inning on a five-pitch one-out walk from Olson. With the bases still loaded pitching coach Jim Clem called a conference and said something that resonated with Olson. The right-handed reliever got the net batter to ground into a 5-3 double play to end the inning and the threat.
Ernie Yake extended the lead 10-4 with a two-out, bases clearing double to score Landen Kimbro and McLain, to put an end to the scoring on the day.
In the regular season finale tomorrow, the Bells will look to split the season and the series tomorrow at 3:05 pm.