KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - For the second-straight night, the Gems pitching staff was dominant, striking out 10 and allowing just six hits as they shutout the Sweets 2-0 on Saturday night at Kiger Stadium.
The loss follows Friday's 4-0 Sweets defeat to the Gems.
The Gems (13-19) have now won 11 of their last 12 and have posted back-to-back shutouts of the Sweets (14-19). It is the third consecutive loss for Walla Walla and it is its first series loss since dropping three-of-four to Kelowna in June.
On Saturday, Gems starter Mitch Merten and Sweets starter Tyler Roberts locked horns in a pitcher's duel. Merten got the better of the battle, picking up five strikeouts and limiting the Sweets to just three hits over six scoreless innings. The combination of Brandon Williams, Nathan Bunch and Josh Graham out of the bullpen was enough to close the door.
Roberts was just as good, gutting out seven innings to match his longest outing of the summer. The right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits and issued three walks. Of the seven hits, just three of them reached the outfield. He was also helped by his defense, as the Sweets turned a season-high three double plays on the night.
Like they did on Friday, the Gems got on the board in the first.
Klamath Falls tacked on a second run in the fourth inning. A single, walk and another infield single loaded the bases with no outs, but Shane Zeile turned a possible two-run hit into a excellent 5-3 double play. He slid to his right along the third base line, fielded the ball, touched the bag and threw across the diamond. A run scored on the play but the twin killing prevented a much bigger inning.
From there, it was the pitchers that took over.
Luke West tossed a scoreless eighth inning for the Sweets, picking up a pair of strikeouts. Kalani Brackenridge extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single through the left side in the eighth inning.
On Friday, Christian Coronado and four Klamath Falls relievers combined to limit the Sweets to just four hits in the 4-0 victory in the series opener.
Walla Walla left nine runners on base and struck out 12 times. The Sweets never collected more than one hit in an inning, either.
The Gems scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings to put the game away. Tanner Nielsen picked up an RBI single in the fifth and Josh Wong collected RBI singles in the sixth and eighth.
The Sweets look to salvage a game in the series today at 6:05 p.m.
Sweets 000 000 000 - 0 6 2
Gems 100 100 00x - 2 7 1
Roberts, West (8) and Fraser. Merten, Williams (7), Bunch (8), Graham (9) and Barnett.
HR - none.
Hits - WW: Jacobs 2, Zeile, O'Neil, Vilter, Brackenridge. Kla: Armenta 2, Byler, Velazquez, Wong, Nielsen 2.
Sweets 000 000 000 - 0 4 0
Gems 100 011 01X - 4 13 3
Kingsley, Brandon (3), Tygerson(8) and Turner. Coronado, Williams (6), Burright (7), Eshelman (8), Yardley (9) and Kennedy
HR - none.
Hits - WW: Turner (2), Vilter, Brackenridge. Kla: Armenta (2), Byler, Velazquez (3), Wong (2), Davidson (2), Kennedy, Nielsen (2).