The struggles of the Cowlitz Black Bears (7-9, 9-9 overall) continued Monday night as they began a three game series with the West Division leading Kitsap Blue Jackets (8-4) with a 12-5 loss at Story Field.
Kitsap was on the board first with a two-run home run by Ryan Matranga in the third inning. The Blue Jackets threatened to add more, and had runners at second and third with one out, but a fly ball to center field brought the inning to a quick conclusion as Trevor Lane (U of Illinois Chicago) gunned out Kitsap's Nikc Coruby attempting to tag up and score from third base.
Cowlitz cut the lead in half with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning from Taylor Bryant (CS Fullerton) to score Kyle Hunt (Nevada).
The Blue Jackets added three more runs in the fifth as Black Bears starter Sam Moreland (George Fox) struggled with his command, walking in a pair.
Doubles by Nick Funyak (Puget Sound) and Lane, both of whom joined Hunt with multi-hit nights, added another for Cowlitz in the bottom half of the inning, keeping the home side within striking distance down 5-2.
After Kitsap added a single run in the top of the eighth, Hunt hit first home run for the Black Bears in West Coast League play to get them back within three heading to the ninth inning.
Hopes of another late inning comeback were short lived, as six Kitsap runs came home for Kitsap in the ninth inning, highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of Austin Bush to put the game out of reach. Cowlitz did add two more runs in the home half of the ninth, as Funyak's second hit of the night scored Joey Greco (Missouri Baptist) and Derrick Rustich (UC Santa Barbara).
The Black Bears will hand the ball the Billy Sahlinger (U of Portland) (2-0, 1.80 ERA) as he takes on Jerome Byndloss (0-1, 9.34 ERA) and the Blue Jackets for game two of the series on Tuesday night with first pitch scheduled for 6:35. Join us at Story Field for Fiesta Bonita $2 Tuesday where GA tickets, hot dogs, soda and beer are just two dollars.