WALLA WALLA - Corvallis built a 5-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings Saturday night and cruised to a 12-3 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in the middle game of a three-game West Coast League baseball series at Borleske Stadium.
The defending WCL champions improved to 2-0 and dropped the Sweets to 0-2.
The Knights' Beau Fraser started the scoring with a two-run home run to left field off of Walla Walla starter Joe Arlt in the top of the second inning.
"It was nice to get a couple of runs out of the gate," Corvallis manager Brooke Knight said.
Corvallis added three more tallies in the third. Both Nate Blackham, who went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and three runs batted in, and Dane Lund contributed RBI doubles to highlight the frame.
The Sweets put up their first run in the bottom of the third. Jared Jordan drilled a one-out double and scored on a two-out, two-bagger by Brett Jacobs, one of three two-base knocks he registered in the game.
The Knights scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to take a 9-1 lead.
Corvallis padded its cushion with three more runs in the eighth inning.
"Our guys showed up more comfortable in the box and got in a couple of good swings," Knight said.
Walla Walla made a slight dent in the 11-run deficit during the last of the eighth. Ben Ruff hammered a lead-off triple into the right-center field gap and scampered home on a sacrifice fly to right by Kelani Brackenridge.
The Sweets picked up their final run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch.
Knights' starting pitcher Jorge Perez scattered seven hits over five innings and notched the win.
"Perez was good on the bump and Blackham had a nice day at the plate," Knight said.
The Knights collected 12 hits to Walla Walla's 11. The Sweets stranded 10 runners while their pitchers - Arlt, D.J. Smith, Tyler Billen and Luke West - combined to give up 10 earned runs and six walks.
Defensively, Walla Walla committed three errors.
"We're seeing some pretty good things offensively, but we had missed opportunities," Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi said. "We're getting guys on base, but we have to get them to home plate.
"Defensively and on the mound - that's got to improve and it will," Biagi said. "You can't kick the ball around.
"When you get down, you can't put the game in motion," Biagi said. "You then have to go station to station."
The teams wrap up their series today at 7:05 p.m.
Corvallis 12, Sweets 3
Corvallis 023 022 030 - 12 12 0
Sweets 001 000 011 - 3 11 3
Perez, Motes (6), Barker (8) and Lund; Arlt, Smith (3), Billen (7), West (8) and Robinson.
HR - Corvallis: Fraser.
Hits - Corvallis: Blackham 4, Whalen 2, Fraser, Lund, Hamilton, Nylen, Metcalf, Clardy; Sweets: Jacobs 3, Ruff 2, Robinson 2, Jordan, Turner, Bonczyk, O'Neil.