WALLA WALLA - Relievers Tyler Billen, Geoff Soja, and Simon Anderson combined to throw five scoreless innings Wednesday night to help lead the Walla Walla Sweets to a 6-2 victory over the Portland Lobos in a West Coast League non-counting baseball contest at Borleske Stadium.
The trio allowed just three hits, struck out six and walked two in relief of starting pitcher Eric Yardley.
"Tyler threw strikes, Soja followed up, and Anderson slammed the door," Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi said.
Walla Walla yielded a run in the top of the first before putting up a pair of tallies in the home half of inning one. Chance Kopacz tied the game by hitting into a 6-4 fielder's choice with the bases loaded and Scott Gottschling scored from third base on the back end of a double steal.
"It was a little rough early on," Biagi said. "But we settled down, scored a couple of runs, and got the lead."
The Sweets added a run in the third inning when Alex Stanford led off with an infield hit, stole second, reached third on a Gottschling fly to center, and crossed the dish on a sacrifice fly to center by Andrew Mendenhall.
Both teams scored in the fourth. Austin Heaps led off Walla Walla's half of the frame with a triple to right-center and touched home on a Kelani Brackenridge single up the middle.
Gottschling led off the Sweets' fifth inning with a single and stole second. One out later, Kopacz drew a walk.
Both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch and crossed the plate on a single to left by Elliot Stewart.
"We were better offensively," Biagi said. "Our outs were hit hard and that's always a positive. Our hits were spread up and down the lineup."
Seven Sweets had at least one hit in the game. Stanford and Brackenridge had two apiece.
Walla Walla opens a three-game series on Friday at Klamath Falls.
"We have a capable group," Biagi said. "As the season has progressed, we've learned more about each other and begun gelling a little bit. We're looking forward to a strong finish."
Sweets 6, Lobos 2
Lobos 100 100 000 - 2 8 1
Sweets 201 120 00x - 6 9 1
Allen, Smith (5), Anderson (7), Jones (8) and Wertz, Koenig (6). Yardley, Billen (5), Soja (7), Anderson (9) and Stewart.
HR - none.
Hits - Lobos: Snowley 2, Beckert 2, Greenstein, Higgins, Miller, Giarrizzo. Sweets: Stanford 2, Brackenridge 2, Mendenhall, Kopacz, Heaps, Gottschling, Stewart.
Attend. - 1,423.