WALLA WALLA - A night after coughing up a 4-2, eighth inning lead, six Klamath Falls pitchers combined to allow one run on four hits, leading the Gems to a 3-1 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets at Borleske Stadium on Wednesday.
The six pitchers were predetermined by the Gems and each played their role perfectly, none moreso than Patrick O'Rourke.
The burly right-hander from Hawaii came on in the eighth in the midst of another Sweets rally. Nathan Bunch allowed a leadoff double, hit the next batter and fell behind 1-0 to Kevin Hawk before O'Rourke was brought on.
Making his fifth appearance already this season, the righty got a pair of fielder's choice ground outs before Chance Kopacz made it 3-1 with an RBI single. Unaffected, O'Rourke got Goose Kallunki to pop out to end the eighth and then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the win and earn the save.
O'Rourke and the other five Gems pitchers made a single third-inning run stand up before Turner Gill's two-run pinch-hit triple in the seventh pushed the lead to 3-0.
Alex Levin started and pitched two scoreless innings despite walking three. The lefty walked the first two batters of the game but a sharp one-hopper by Kopacz was turned into a double play and Levin got a pop out to end the inning.
He allowed a one-out walk in the second but the next pitch was lined to second and ended the inning as the runner was caught off first.
The Sweets didn't get a baserunner again until the fifth, when James Campbell drew a one-out walk. He stole second and was waved home as Nick Gentili slapped a single into left field.
Ryan Doepel came up throwing and delivered a perfect strike to home to nab Campbell and end the fifth. The next time Walla Walla threatened was in the eighth - when the Gems brought their stopper in.
The 3-1 loss overshadowed another solid performance by Sweets starter Brett Watson.
The lefty gave up three unearned runs in a 3-2 loss to Corvallis in his first start and pitched into the seventh Wednesday, but came up on the wrong side of the decision.
He allowed just one baserunner in the first two innings before the Gems strung together two hits in third, with Kainoa Crowell's RBI triple the big blow.
As he's shown all season, Watson responded well, allowing just one hit over the next three innings. He allowed a leadoff single in the seventh and handed the ball to Eric Yardley. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out three.
Klamath Falls jumped on Yardley quickly with a single and a sac bunt to put runners on second and third. Gill then jumped on a 3-1 pitch and ripped it to center. Andrew Mendenhall raced back but the ball hit off the tip of his glove and fell, scoring two.
Jacob Overbay pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit for the Sweets.
Campbell reached base twice for the Sweets, who have alternated wins in their first eight games of 2011 and had their four-game home winning streak snapped.
Jeremy Burright earned the win tossing a scoreless sixth inning for the Gems, while seven players from Klamath Falls had hits.
Walla Walla and Klamath Falls complete their three-game series at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Borleske Stadium. Trent Allianic will make his second start of the summer and will be opposed by left-hander Matt Klein. It's also the first Thirsty Thursday of the summer with select domestic drafts and sodas for $1 until the first pitch of the fifth inning.
Gems 3, Sweets 1
Gems 001 000 200 - 3 7 0
Sweets 000 000 010 - 1 4 1
Levin, Ferrell (3), Staples (4), Burright (5), Bunch (6), O'Rourke (7) and Selanders; Watson, Yardley (7), Overbay (8) and Hawk.
Hits - Klam: Crowell, Miller, Selanders, D'Aboy, Doepel, Atkinson, Gill. WW: Kopacz, Kallunki, Stanford, Gentili.