Longview, Wash.- It was a game of runs Monday night but Walla Walla's was just a bit longer as they hung on to win the rubber match 5-4 over Cowlitz.
The Sweets (5-4) jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the course of the third, fourth and fifth innings. Nick Nyquist hit an RBI single to score Ryan Johnston to open the scoring. Then Clayten Ayres scored from third on a wild pitch by Black Bears starter Dustin Wells (JR, George Fox).
Walla Walla drove in two more in the fourth. Austin Kopacz hit an RBI single which brought home Patrick Chung. Two batters later Zach Weisz hit an RBI single as well to score Kopacz.
What turned out to be the winning run came in the top of the fifth. Hayden Duer scored Nyquist with an RBI single.
In the bottom of the inning Cowlitz (5-4) finally got into the game scoring one run. Nyles Nygaard (SO, Washington) drove in his first run of the season with an RBI sacrifice fly. TIm Jones (SO, Northwest Nazarene) came in to score on the play.
In the sixth Cowlitz scored again. Justin Wakem (FR, Western Oregon) hit an RBI single to score Andy Armstrong (FR, Oregon State) after he led off the inning with a double.
The Black Bears got to within one run in the seventh. Armstrong hit an RBI groundout to score Nygaard then Wakem drove in his second run of the game by bringing around Yeager Taylor (FR, UC Riverside) on a single.
Kyle Narahara came on to pitch in the eighth for the Sweets. Narahara earned his West Coast League leading third save of the season over the final two innings allowing just one hit and striking out three batters.
Sweets starting pitcher Chris Murphy had a no-hitter going into the fifth but it was spoiled with a single from the lead off batter Jones. Murphy was relieved by Nick Vigo after pitching 4.1 innings so he did not qualify for the win. Vigo moved to 1-0 on the season going 2.2 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out three batters.
Wells took the loss dropping to 0-1. Wells pitched four innings giving up four runs on six hits while striking out three.
The Black Bears will head out on their first real road trip of the season to Kitsap and then Victoria. Cowlitz will send Seth Rayburn (SO, RHP Tennessee-Martin) up against Kitsap's Eli Fultz (SO, LHP Olympic College) in game one. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM.