The Black Bears (11-11) suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Bellingham Bells (16-5) at Joe Martin Field in a tense, 17 inning marathon that was a franchise record for both teams.
Pitching was the story for both sides early on as Seth Martinez allowed just one hit in his six innings of work for the Bells while Shane Bieber allowed one run in his six and two-thirds innings of work.
From there the bullpens would take over with the Black Bears plating their first run in the the seventh inning. Future teammates at Oregon State, Caleb Hamilton and Black Bears newcomer Elliott Cary, hit back to back singles to give the Black Bears a threat for the first time trailing 1-0. A flyout to right allowed Hamilton to move up to third and he scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Jonathan Serven (Cal State Long Beach).
Hamilton and Cary combined for five of the eight hits for the Black Bears in the game.
From there both pitching staffs were on full lockdown down as zeroes went up on the scoreboard until the bottom of the 17th inning.
Amazingly the Black Bears used just three pitchers on the night, with Joe Reta and J.J. Franklin combining for nine and a third innings out of the pen.
Reta, who will heading to Oregon in the fall, pitched three and two third scoreless frames while striking out four before handing the ball to Franklin. The tall right hander remained in the game until its conclusion, when Jimmy Sinatro, pinch-hitting in the 17th inning for the Bells, bounced a ground ball over the head of the drawn in Black Bear infield for the game winner.
Franklin who was celebrating his 21st birthday totaled six and a third innings, allowing just three hits while striking out four.
The Black Bears will have a quick turnaround as they take on the Bells with a 1:05 start time from Joe Martin Field on Friday. Reza Aleaziz (Oregon St.) will be making his first start for the Bears this season opposite Aaron Sandefur and the Bells. Tune in to Shane Downey for all the action beginning at 12:50 on KEDO AM 1400 and streaming live on cowlitzblackbears.com