Longview, Wash.- Cowlitz kept the hits coming Sunday night and swept the Kitsap BlueJackets with an 8-4 win. The Black Bears have now won a franchise best four in a row to open up the season.
For the second consecutive game, lead-off batter Michael Forgione reached on a single in the first inning. After Toby Johnson and Lorin Archibald were hit by pitches, Forgione scored from third base on a passed ball.
Kitsap tied the game in the top of the fourth. Marten Pauwels drew a lead-off walk and advanced to third after Devon DeRaad singled and Luke Stampfl flied out to right field. Black Bears starter Kevin Baker threw a wild pitch that brought home Pauwels.
The Black Bears grabbed the lead back with their third four-run inning of the series in the fifth. Forgione singled to lead things off. Johnson was hit by his second pitch of the night, and Colin Winn drove in Forgione with an RBI single. After a pitching change for JF Matros, Archibald reached on a throwing error from the new BlueJacket hurler and allowed Johnson to score. Weston Hatten increased the lead to 4-1 with an RBI sacrifice fly. Finally, Tim Jones brought home Archibald with an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 5-1.
But once again Kitsap showed a no-quit attitude in the top of the sixth. Akaash Agarwal relieved Baker and walked four straight batters to narrow the gap to 5-2, and Tom McGarry hit an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 5-3.
The Black Bears had another big inning in the bottom of the sixth. Forgione again led off the inning with a knock. This time a double for the only extra base hit of the ball game. Forgione then stole third and was brought home on an RBI fielder’s choice from Archibald. Andy Armstrong and Jones followed with RBI singles scoring Winn and Archibald to take a commanding 8-3 lead. Overall on the night Forgione went 3-for-5 and scored three times.
Kitsap got the final run of the ball game in the eighth with an RBI groundout from McGarry.
Baker picked up the win pitching five innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out three. Kitsap starter Nick Caudillo earned the loss pitching four innings while giving up four runs, two of which were earned. Caudillo struck out one, walked two and hit three batters.
The Black Bears play their first road game of the season with a short trip to the Gresham Greywolves. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM. Black Bear Dustin Wells (LHP- George Fox University) is scheduled to start his first game of the season in his second appearance. Opposing him will be Gabe Benavides (LHP- Grand Canyon University).