Yakima, Wash.- In a back and forth affair Monday Yakima Valley (15-7, 30-19) finally got the upper hand and beat Cowlitz (9-13, 21-28) 6-3 to eliminate the Black Bears from playoff contention.
The game started very well for the Black Bears. Michael Forgione (JR, University of Portland) reached on a fielding error to lead off the game by hitting a hot shot that went through the wickets of the third baseman. The next batter Toby Johnson (JR, Arkansas State) hit an RBI double to bring in Forgione. It was Johnson's first extra base hit of the season.
The Pippins countered in the bottom of the inning with two runs to take a 2-1 lead. After Christian Koss tripled and Freddie Smith and Jay Schuyler were hit by pitches from Cowlitz starter Jordan Jones (IN-FR, Washington) Ryan Garcia drove in two with a single.
In the second Yakima Valley got an insurance run. Koss hit an RBI sacrifice fly to bring home Jonathan Sandberg.
The Black Bears were able to tie the score in the fifth. Justin Wakem (SO, Western Oregon) and Johnson hit RBI singles to score Jace McKinney (SO, Mt. Hood CC) and Wakem to even the contest at three.
Once again however it didn't take long for the Pippins to get the lead back for good. In the sixth Sandberg hit an RBI single and Koss walked with the bases loaded for his second RBI of the game to make it 5-3. With the bases loaded again in the eighth Akash Agarwal (SO, California) hit Jace Van de Brake with a pitch to give the Pippins a three run cushion.
Yakima Valley closer Connor Zwetsch sat down the Black Bears in order in the ninth with two strikeouts to earn his seventh save.
Starter Jens Jensen picked up the win improving his record to 3-6. Jensen lasted six innings allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out four batters. Jones took the loss dropping to 1-1. Jones pitched 5.1 innings giving up five runs, four earned, on seven hits and striking out five Pippins.
With the loss the Black Bears elimination number dropped to zero mathematically eliminating Cowlitz from the playoffs. The Black Bears are now on their longest losing streak of the season at six games after earning their longest winning streak of the season also at six games.
Cowlitz is still winless against Yakima Valley all-time at 0-7.
The Black Bears will try and send the series to a rubber match Wednesday at 7:05 PM. David Appleby (SO, RHP Utah) will be on the hill for the Bears.