LONGVIEW, Wash.- Bellingham's pitching staff proved to be the real deal in their series against Cowlitz as the Bells shut out the Black Bears 5-0 Thursday to earn the sweep.
Bellingham starter Nick Nastrini saw just three batters over the minimum through seven innings and at one point retired 16 Cowlitz hitters in a row.
The Bells scored the only two runs they would need in the top of the fourth. Four consecutive singles to lead off the inning gave Bellingham the lead.
A lead off home run to right field in the sixth made it 3-0. Finally a wild pitch and an RBI double in the ninth put the game out of reach.
Starter Zach Heaton (R-FR Dallas Baptist) took the loss dropping his record to 0-2. Heaton tied Mitch Lines (SO Lower Columbia College) for the longest outing by a starter this season with 5.1 innings of work. Heaton gave up three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.
Joe Solomon (SO University of the Pacific) pitched the next two innings and didn't give up a run on four hits with one strikeout. Lastly JT Penick (SO Dallas Baptist) went 1.2 innings giving up two runs on two hits while striking out three Bell batters.
The Black Bears best chance to avoid being shut out for the first time this season came in the seventh. Pinch hitter Kyle Sandstrom (JR Sacramento State) led off drawing a walk. But a 4-6-3 double play emptied the bases. Dutton Elske (JR University of Portland) kept the inning going with a single but a ground out to third base stranded the Cowlitz catcher.
Cowlitz (7-11) couldn't break out of their longest losing streak of the season and have now lost six straight. Bellingham (13-5) now owns the longest winning streak in the West Coast League this season with their eighth victory in a row.
The Black Bears take a break from WCL play Friday as they welcome in the Gresham GreyWolves. First pitch is at 6:35 PM.