Port Angeles, Wash.- Cowlitz bounced back Thursday night and evened the series against Port Angeles with a 5-2 victory.
The Black Bears (8-3, 19-19) offense looked a lot better in the second post-All-Star break game. Cowlitz opened the scoring early when Mark Pearson (JR Abilene Christian) drove in Nyles Nygaard (SR Western Oregon) with an RBI single.
The Lefties (6-9, 16-26) answered in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run single to take the lead.
Cowlitz tied the game in the fourth. Kona Quiggle (SO Grand Canyon) sent Pearson home with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field.
The Black Bears got the lead back for good in the seventh. Quiggle, Dane Stankiewicz (SO Grand Canyon) and Ryan Kim (SO University of Portland) loaded the bases on a single and two walks. With one out Nygaard drew a walk to make it 3-2 Bears.
In the ninth Kim hit a two-run monster shot to right field which put the game out of reach. It was Kim's first home run of the season.
Kragen Kechely (SO Dallas Baptist) earned his first save of the season setting down the Lefties in order in the bottom of the inning while also picking up two strikeouts.
Starter Austin Merrill (SO Chapman) earned the win improving his record to 2-0. Merrill pitched six strong innings giving up two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and no free passes. Cole Henderson (SO Nevada) lasted two innings in between Merrill and Kechely. Henderson only gave up one hit with three strikeouts.
Corvallis lost again to Walla Walla keeping the Black Bears a half game ahead of the Knights for first place in the South Division with three games in hand.
Jimmy Fouse (RHP JR Dallas Baptist) makes his first start of the season Friday in the rubber match. The closer-turned-rotation-guy faces Keiran Shaw (RHP SO Harvard) at 6:35 PM.
Photo credit: Pat Jordan