The Black Bears' offense came alive in a nick of time on Monday night, erupting for four runs on five hits in the bottom of the ninth inning. The outburst erased a three run deficit, and Chris Iriart walk-off single with a thrilling 5-4 victory over the visiting Klamath Falls Gems.
As has been the case throughout the season, Black Bear pitching kept the team in the game. Jake Menzhuber made his first start of the year, and combined with Connor Cuse and Zebastian to scatter six Gems hits and four runs, one unearned. A slick double play turned by Seaver Whalen, Kyle Hunt and Daniel Orr ended a threat in the second inning, and Kort Peterson and Elliot Cary chased down long drives in the outfield.
A Peterson single, followed by a balk and a two-out double by Orr, got the Black Bears on the board in the sixth, but the home side trailed by a 4-1 score entering the bottom of the ninth.
The Black Bear ninth started innocently enough, with a one out single by Orr and Austin Baker being hit by a pitch. Orr got a great jump on a Jonathan Serven single to shallow center, cutting the lead to 4-2 and putting the tying run on first. Designated hitter Joey Greco calmly stroked a two-strike single to left, plating Baker. With Greco representing the winning run, Coach Tim Matz inserted Taylor Bryant as a pinch runner.
A strikeout put the Gems one out away from the win, and with a 1-2 count on Corey Van Domelen the Black Bears were down to their final strike. With the game in the balance, the veteran sliced a single to left, scoring Serven with the tying run. Pinch hitter Iriart completed the comeback by depositing the second pitch he saw into left field for the game winner.
The Black Bears and Gems continue their three game series on Tuesday night, with first pitch at 6:35. The Gems will send Jordan Kron (0-6, 7.60 ERA) to the mound opposite Chris Castellanos (2-3, 2.31 ERA) for the Black Bears.
Tuesday night is Fiesta Bonita $2 Tuesday. Fans can enjoy $2 admissions tickets, $2 hot dogs, $2 soda and $2 canned beer. It is also Swanson Bark Cowlitz Black Bears Kids Club Night. All Kids Club members will be admitted free with their membership card and will run the bases after the game.
Be sure to join Black Bears players Kort Peterson, Taylor Bryant, Derrick Rustich and Sam Moreland for a meet-and-greet at Burgerville, from 12-2 on Tuesday.