The Black Bears' offense sputtered for the second straight night against division leading Bellingham, falling 5-1 in a July 4 afternoon game at Joe Martin Field.
The visiting Black Bears got off to a promising start in the first inning, as Taylor Bryant and Joey Greco both singled off Bellingham starter Aaron Sandefur. However, Sandefur got out of the inning, and did not allow another hit for the Black Bears until the seventh.
Black Bear starter Reza Aleaziz kept Cowlitz close, allowing only one run in four and two-thirds innings of work. Aleaziz and the Black Bear defense consistently got big outs, turning three double plays -- two with the bases loaded -- as the Bells stranded ten runners through the first five innings. The Black Bears turned four double plays overall, with Bryant on the front end of three of them, making his first start at third base.
Daniel Orr led off the seventh inning with his first West Coast League home run to tie the game at 1-1. A walk to Seaver Whalen and a Corey Van Domelen single put the Black Bears in position to take the lead, but Sandefur induced the final out of the inning, stranding the pair and ending his night having allowed just four Black Bear hits.
With the game tied at 1-1, a two-run home run by the Bells' Danny Miller gave Bellingham the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh. The Bells added a run in the seventh on an RBI single from Dustin Breshears, and finished the scoring with a run on a wild pitch in the eighth.
Burk Fitzpatrick pitch two perfect innings to close things out for the Bells and earn his first save of the season. Scott Serigstad took the loss for the Black Bears.
The Black Bears will wrap up their series with Bellingham Saturday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05. Zebastian Valenzuela (Grand Canyon) will take the mound for Cowlitz opposite Gabe Cramer and the Bells. Tune in to Shane Downey for all the action beginning with the Black Bears pregame show at 6:50 on KEDO AM 1400 and streaming live oncowlitzblackbears.com