WALLA WALLA - A pair of unearned runs and three errors cost the Walla Walla Sweets the middle game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series with Corvallis Saturday night at Borleske Stadium.
The Knights built a 3-0 lead after seven innings and held off a late Sweets' rally for a 3-2 triumph.
Corvallis starting pitcher Max Beatty hurled a perfect game for 6 2/3 innings before yielding a single to right field to Chance Kopacz. Beatty wound up logging eight innings, gave up three hits, and ended up with seven strikeouts.
"You have to tip your cap to that guy," Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi said. "We were a little bit late making adjustments (at the plate)."
The Sweets got on the board with one out in the eighth inning when Alex Stanford sent an 0-1 delivery from Beatty over the right-field fence.
Alex Bonczyk and Kalani Brackenridge started the Walla Walla ninth with walks against Knights' relief pitcher Eric Young.
Kopacz struck out attempting to bunt on a 2-2 count and Austin Heaps followed with a single to left to load the bases.
Goose Kallunki brought home Bonczyk with a looping hit to right to make it a one-run game.
Corvallis second baseman Corey Moore would see to it that the Sweets would not tie or win the game. He caught a pop-up in shallow center off the bat of Zach Wentz for the second out of the inning, then knocked down a hard bouncer and threw out a sliding Stanford at first for the final out of the contest.
The Knights used two Walla Walla errors to plate a pair of runs in the third inning and scored their final tally in the seventh - thanks in part to a Sweets' snafu - on a Moore sacrifice fly to right.
"We've got to get the bugs out and play clean baseball," Biagi said.
Walla Walla starter Brett Watson gave up just four hits in six-plus innings and struck out four. Reliever Derek Peterson pitched two-hit ball over the final three frames, walked two and fanned one.
"We had good pitching," Biagi said. "They gave us a chance."
The rubber game of the series is today at 6:05 p.m.
"We like what we see," Biagi said. "We'll be all right."
Corvallis 3, Sweets 2
Corvallis 002 000 100 - 3 6 0
Sweets 000 000 011 - 2 5 3
Beatty, Young (9) and Lund, Bogue (7); Watson, Peterson (7) and Hawk.
HR - Sweets: Stanford.
Hits - Corvallis: Myrom 2, Lund, Alexander, Foulon, Bogue; Sweets: Heaps 2, Kopacz, Stanford, Kallunki.