WALLA WALLA - A quartet of Bellingham Bells - Mike Chiarelli, Chris Pierce, Charlie Markson, and Cody Regis - collected three hits apiece to pace a 17-hit attack and starting pitcher Cody Fassold allowed five hits over seven innings Friday night during a 9-0 whitewashing of the Walla Walla Sweets in the opening act of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Borleske Stadium.
The loss was just the second for Walla Walla in its last nine league games and dropped its record to 16-23 prior to the middle game of the set Saturday night.
Bellingham leveled its mark at 22-22.
The Bells, who entered the contest with a league-worst .221 team batting average, provided Fassold and reliever Danny Hennigs with all the support they needed with two runs and three hits in the first inning. Pierce and Markson started off the frame with a single and double, respectively, and raced home on a two-out, two-base knock to left field by Brady Locker.
Bellingham used an infield grounder to plate a run in the second inning and added two more tallies in the fifth on RBI singles by Markson and Regis.
The Bells chimed four times in the seventh inning. Junior Dishmey-Perez lifted a sacrifice fly while Frank Desico and Regis contributed run-scoring singles. Run No. 4 crossed on a Walla Walla error.
The Sweets got a trio of runners as far as third base, but were unable to break through. Walla Walla was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Markson, Bellingham's left-fielder, turned in one of the night's defensive gems in the third inning. With a runner at third and two out, Markson reached above the left-field fence to snag a two-out fly ball off the bat of Elliot Stewart - a play that drew oohs and aahs from the Borleske crowd of 1,543.
Fassold improved his record to 4-1 and lowered his earned average to 1.69.
"He's good," Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi said, "but you have to compete and be prepared for every situation. They're a very good team, well-coached.
"I don't know what to say," Biagi said. "We gave up 17 hits and had only five? You'd be hard-pressed to find a game where you do that and win."
Bellingham 210 200 400 - 9 17 0
Walla Walla 000 000 000 - 0 5 2
Fassold, Hennigs (8) and Chiarelli; Wagman, Johnson (7) and Stewart.
HR - none.
Hits - Bellingham: Chiarelli 3, Pierce 3, Markson 3, Regis 3, Sturdivant 2, Locker, Dishmey-Perez, Desico; Walla Walla: Kuntz 2, Holt, Chavez, Yanzick.