LONGVIEW, Wash. - Spencer O'Neil hit a towering two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning to break a 1-1 tie and Ben Ruff left the tying runs on base in the bottom of the inning as the Sweets earned a 3-1 victory over the Black Bears on Wednesday night at Story Field.
The Sweets (14-16) have won each of the first two games of the series over the Black Bears (12-18) by a combined score of 6-3. Walla Walla also improved to 2-1 in extra-inning games this season.
With the scored tied 1-1 in the top of the 11th inning, Nick Vilter was hit by a pitch with one out to put a runner on base. Cowlitz reliever Kody Watts got a fly to left for the second out and quickly jumped ahead of O'Neil 1-2. Entering the game in the ninth as a pinch-hitter, O'Neil had already struck out once against Watts on the night but he changed the result this time around. Watts 1-2 pitch was waist-high and O'Neil walloped it over the double fence in right-center to give the Sweets the lead.
Wednesday saw another outstanding pitching matchup between Arturo Reyes and Koby Gauna. Both allowed just one run over six innings before handing the ball to their respective bullpens.
Walla Walla grabbed the early lead in the fourth on a sac fly from Ryan Cooper.
Cowlitz tied the game in the fifth thanks to a clutch two-out single. A leadoff walk, sac bunt and a ground ball to the right side put a runner on third and Alex Rubanowitz knocked a single up the middle to knot the score.
Making his sixth start of the summer, Reyes was dominant for the third consecutive outing. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out three.
The Sweets and Black Bears finish their three-game series tonight with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. Matt Imhof will get the start for the Sweets.
Walla Walla 3, Cowlitz 1
Walla Walla 000 100 000 02 - 3 8 2
Cowlitz 000 010 000 00 - 1 9 1
Reyes, Arlt (7), West (10), Ruff (10) and Fraser; Guana, Irvin (7), Perez (8) Watts (9) and Hazard, Armijo.
HR - Walla Walla: O'Neil (5).
Hits - Walla Walla: Paulino 2, Jacobs 2, Zeile, Robinson, Kopacz, O'Neil; Cowlitz: Diemer 2, Carroll 2, Frattali, Kuck, Wobrock 2, Rubanowitz.