WALLA WALLA - One night after a dreadful offensive showing in which it swatted just two hits in 14 tries with runners in scoring position, Walla Walla equalled that number of base knocks in one inning during their West Coast League baseball encounter with Moses Lake on Saturday night at Borleske Stadium.
The hits occurred in a three-run second inning that, coupled with eight solid frames from starting pitcher Kody Young and three RBIs off the bat of No. 9 hitter Josh Daniel, helped lift the Sweets to a 5-2 win over the Pirates.
Walla Walla improved to 6-14 and dropped Moses Lake to 8-12 heading into today's series finale at 4:05 p.m.
Elliot Stewart laced a double down the left-field line to begin the Sweets' second and Christian Ramirez was hit by a pitch.
Matt Hart bunted the runners to third and second.
One out later Daniel - with a one-ball, two-strike count - unloaded a single to center that plated both Stewart and Ramirez, and took second base on the throw home from the outfield.
"Josh had a great at-bat to get us going," Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi said. "He's a good athlete and a tough kid."
"Coach Biagi had us working on our approach all day (Saturday), which helped us," Daniel said. "It was great to finally put a ball in play for a hit with two strikes."
Kevin Kuntz scored Daniel with a base knock to right to conclude the rally.
"That was huge," Young said of the multi-run frame. "I was able to go out there, throw what I wanted, and not have to worry."
Moses Lake got a run back in the fourth inning when Nick Frederick deposited Young's first pitch of the stanza over the right-field wall.
The Sweets cancelled out the long fly in their half of the fourth. Matt Hart drew a one-out walk and raced home on a two-out triple by Daniel up the left-center alley.
"That was huge - coming back with that run," Young said. "The team helped me out a lot."
A Walla Walla error in the sixth inning resulted in an unearned run for the Pirates that closed the gap to two, 4-2.
Stewart provided the Sweets with an insurance run in the eighth when he smacked his second home run of the season - a towering fly that cleared the left-field wall with ease.
"We had much better at-bats, good approaches, and took advantage of some fastballs," Biagi said.
Young gave up seven hits, struck out an equal number and walked just two before giving way to Zach Clanton in the ninth.
"Young was lights out," Biagi said. "He was a little bit erratic early, but settled down and gave us eight strong innings."
Clanton fanned Tylor Pavol to start the ninth and, after Andrew Rodriguez batted an infield hit, struck out Austin Shackelford and pinch-hitter Joe Huwer to end the game and earn his third save.
"He's run into a little bit of trouble as of late," Biagi said. "But he's a tough kid, competitive. He wants the ball in that situation."
Moses Lake 000 101 000 - 2 8 0
Walla Walla 030 100 01x - 5 8 1
Druffel, Yardley (5) Karwacki; Young, Clanton (9) and Stewart.
HR - Moses Lake: Frederick; Walla Walla: Stewart.
Hits - Moses Lake: Rodriguez 2, Frederick 2, Ecklund, Pavol, Johnson, Roberts; Walla Walla: Stewart 2, Daniel 2, Comer, Kuntz, Chavez, Yanzick.
West Coast League
W L PCT GB
Wenatchee 12 8 0.600 -
Moses Lake 8 12 0.400 4
Kelowna 8 15 0.348 5.5
Walla Walla 6 14 0.300 6
W L PCT GB
Bend 16 5 0.762 -
Corvallis 13 8 0.619 3
Kitsap 11 8 0.579 4
Bellingham 14 11 0.560 4
Cowlitz 4 11 0.267 9