Longview, Wash.- Things started out well for the Black Bears (4-3) Saturday night but a three run home run by Clayten Ayers in the top of the sixth gave Walla Walla (4-3) the lead for good as they won game one 5-3.
With Cowlitz leading 2-1 in the sixth Coby Kauhaahaa started off the inning with a pinch hit single. Nick Nyquist kept things going with another single. Two batters later Ayres stepped to the plate and hit a three-run homer over the left field wall to give Walla Walla a 4-2 lead. It was the first home run given up by Cowlitz pitching this season. Another pinch hitter Ryan Johnston brought home the Sweets fifth run with an RBI single.
Cowlitz did get a run back in the bottom of the seventh. Tim Jones (SO, Northwest Nazarene) scored from third after ball four to Lorin Archibald (SO, Oklahoma) got past catcher Hayden Duer.
AJ Carkner came in relief of starter Jackson Weeg and got Weston Hatten (SO, Washington State) to strike out to end the inning. Carkner earned a seven out save by allowing just one hit the rest of the way.
Cowlitz opened the scoring in the bottom of the third. Michael Forgione (JR, University of Portland) hit an RBI single to score Jones and the next batter Toby Johnson (SO, Arkansas State) did the same to score Forgione.
Walla Walla got on the board in the top of the fourth. Ayres grounded into a 5-3 double play which scored Chris McCready.
Weeg moved to 2-0 on the young season pitching 6.2 innings allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out four batters. Black Bears starter David Appleby (FR, Utah) dropped to 1-1 going 5.2 innings giving up five runs on eight hits and striking out two.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 5:05 Sunday night. The Black Bears will send Kevin Baker (SO, RHP-University of Portland) to the mound against Joe Heineman (RHP- Baylor)