After taking two of three against the Medford Rogues (8-3) in the season opening series, the Black Bears (7-6, 9-6 overall) struggled at Harry and David Field on Friday night, dropping the road series opener, 14-6.
The bats came out swinging early, as the Black Bears took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Joey Greco (Missouri Baptist) drove a ball into the left field corner for a double to score Caleb Hamilton (Oregon St.) to start the scoring. Jonathan Serven (Long Beach St.) followed with a single to plate Greco to make the score 2-0. Both RBI were with two out in the inning.
The score would remain that way until three runs came across for the Rogues half of the fourth to give them their first lead of the game.
The Black Bears stormed back immediately in their half of the fifth. Back-to-back doubles by the top of the order, Austin Baker (Arkansas) and Hamilton, tied the game, and Greco adding another RBI to his total with a deep sacrifice fly to bring home Hamilton. Casey Worden (Saddleback) then singled and stole second as part of a double steal, advanced to third on a single off the bat of Serven, and came home on a throwing error to give the Black Bears a 5-3 lead.
From there the wheels fell off as the Rogues rallied for six runs in the fifth inning and five more in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
The Black Bears scored their final run in the eighth. Ryan Aguilar (U of Arizona) doubled and was driven home with a single by Brian Poupore (Kansas). The run pulled Cowlitz to within three at the time, giving the Bears hope until the Rogues added on big yet again in the bottom half of the inning.
The Black Bears used five pitchers in the game with three making their debuts in league play. The staff failed to record a strikeout in the game while walking seven.
Offensively, the Black Bears delivered 11 hits, including two each by Hamilton, Serven and Chris Iriart (Orange Coast)
Cowlitz will look to rebound in game two of the series Saturday night with first pitch scheduled for 6:35. Kolton Krueger (Clark College) (0-0, 1.35 ERA) will take the mound for the Black Bears opposite Jeff Hardy (1-0, 3.00 ERA) and the Rogues. Tune in to Shane Downey for all the action beginning with the Black Bears pregame show at 6:20 on KEDO AM 1400 and streaming live at cowlitzblackbears.com.