Early hits don't pay off as Sweets lose seventh straight

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KELOWNA, British Columbia - When the first two batters of the game get hits it's usually a sign of good things to come.

It was the exact opposite for the Walla Walla Sweets on Sunday as they did not record another hit over the final eight innings as they dropped their seventh straight game, 1-0, to the Kelowna Falcons at Elks Stadium.

Arriving just an hour prior to first pitch after a 12-hour bus ride from Corvallis, the Sweets did not take batting practice and it appeared to not matter.

Andrew Mendenhall started the game with a single to right-center, but was picked off before Brenton Allen followed with a single of his own.

They didn't know it, but those were the only two hits the Sweets would muster against four Falcon pitchers.

Sporting a team ERA over 4.00, David Otterman gave Kelowna a solid six innings, allowing just two hits, walking three and striking out two.

Brandon Marris pitched a scoreless seventh, Jared Mortenson a scoreless eighth and Cade Bowen closed the door with a scoreless ninth. The three relievers did not allow a hit and allowed just two baserunners - a hit-by-pitch in the seventh and a ninth-inning walk.

Kelowna got the only run it needed in the second on two hits and two Sweets errors.

Lost in the defeat was the outing from Sweets starter Ryan Richardson. After sitting on the bus for 12 hours, the right-hander scattered seven hits over six innings, struck out two and did not allow a walk. He got a 6-4-3 double play to end the first and fielded two comebackers deftly in the fifth.

In 22 total innings this summer, Richardson has a 0.82 ERA, with 14 strikeouts and has not walked a batter.

Simon Anderson provided strong relief, throwing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit.

With the loss, the Sweets have now dropped seven-straight games, one shy of the eight-game skid they had last year. The three-game series continues on tonight at 6:35 p.m.

Falcons 1, Sweets 0

Sweets 000 000 000 - 0 2 2

Falcons 010 000 00x - 1 7 0

Richardson, Anderson (7) and Hawk. Otterman, Marris (7), Mortenson (8), Bowen (9) and Norris-Jones.

HR - none.

Hits - WW: Mendenhall, Allen. Kel: Swinford, Folkings 2, Pearson, Colwell 2, Bryant.

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