BELLINGHAM - You can't win when you don't score, and scoring has been a problem for the Walla Walla Sweets this summer.
It was the problem again on Wednesday, as they collected just four hits and were shut out 2-0 by the Bellingham Bells at Joe Martin Field.
The Sweets gave up a run in the first inning for the seventh time in the last ten games and could never get it back. They got a two-out single from Andrew Mendenhall in the first but could not put anything together.
Austin Heaps and Goose Kallunki knocked back-to-back singles to start the second inning but Bells starter Richie Ochoa retired the next three hitters on a strikeout and two fly outs.
Mendenhall picked up another two-out single in the third and Kallunki reached on an error in the fourth but both were left on base as the Sweets left five in the first four innings.
Despite the offensive struggles, the Sweets pitching staff continues to throw well.
Ryan Richardson started on Wednesday and gave Walla Walla a quality start, giving up just two runs on five hits with three strikeouts over six innings. His only blemishes came in the first and sixth innings.
Kai Hatch singled and Jeff Gelalich doubled with one out and Richardson walked Ben Grubb to load the bases. Pat Gallagher scored the first run with a sac fly to right, the only run the Bells would need.
The right-hander settled after the first and got out of a jam in the second by inducing an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. He struck out two in the third, left Mike Aquino on third in the fourth with a strikeout of Zane Yanzick and Kevin Williams' sliding play in the hole at short got him out of the fifth.
Bellingham got a crucial insurance run in the sixth thanks to Aquino. Starting in right field, Aquino started the summer 1-24 but has gone 10-22 over the last six games.
His second hit of the night did not come down until it was over the fence in left. Aquino jumped on 2-0 pitch and got just enough to get it over the wall and push the lead to 2-0.
That was more than enough for the Bells' pitching staff. Ochoa threw six scoreless innings, gave up four hits and struck out five. Bellingham then used three different relievers to close the door. J.R. Bunda worked a scoreless seventh, Brandon Boyle a scoreless eighth and Carsen Nylund earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Mendenhall's first-inning single extended his hitting streak to seven games and he picked up half of the team's hits. Pitching for the first time since June 17, Geoff Soja tossed a scoreless seventh inning and Trent Allianic finished with a 1-2-3 eighth. Hatch and Aquino each had a pair of hits for the Bells.
Walla Walla finishes their series with the Bells today at Joe Martin Field. First pitch is 7:05 p.m. and Brett Watson will get the ball for the Sweets.
Bells 2, Sweets 0
Sweets 000 000 000 - 0 4 1
Bells 100 001 00x - 2 6 1
Richardson, Soja (7), Allianic (8) and Hawk; Ochoa, Bunda (7), Boyle (8), Nylund (9) and McClanahan.
HR - Bells: Aquino.
Hits- SweetsL Mendenhall 2, Heaps, Kallunki. Bells: Hatch 2, Gelalich, Atkinson, Aquino 2.