WALLA WALLA - D.J. Smith struck out seven over 7 1/3 innings and Ben Ruff's two-run triple in the bottom of the third put Walla Walla ahead for good as it held on to defeat Kitsap, 4-3, Wednesday night at Borleske Stadium.
The BlueJackets (4-2) scored first for the third time in the series, but the Sweets (3-3) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead. With the win, the Sweets won their first series of the season and have now won 10-of-11 against the BlueJackets.
Trailing 2-0 in the third, the Sweets loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and an error. Jared Jordan singled, Alex Bonczyk reached on a throwing error by the pitcher Danny Thomson and Kalani Brackenridge's single to third loaded the bases for Spencer O'Neil. Held hitless on Tuesday, O'Neil dropped a broken-bat single into right-center that scored Jordan from third. Bonczyk also tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect throw from Frankie Torres. Ruff followed by drilling a triple to the right-center gap that scored Brackenridge and O'Neil to make it 3-2.
Walla Walla increased its lead in the next inning as they loaded the bases again. A walk, infield single and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with one out and Bonczyk scored Hawk with an infield single to third base.
The combination of Smith and relievers Doug Ashby and Simon Anderson made the lead stand up. After Kitsap pulled within one thanks to sac fly in the fifth, Smith was untouchable. He got a fly ball to right to end the fifth - Robinson made the catch while falling - and then retired the side in order in sixth and seventh before leaving after getting the first out of the eighth. He retired the final nine he faced and allowed just five hits on the night. Ashby entered in eighth and struck out both batters he faced before handing off to Anderson for the ninth.
Anderson made it interesting but got some help from his defense to close out the victory. Mitch Bluman and Torres collected consecutive singles with one out to start the rally. Ryan Albert followed with a ground ball up the middle that Brackenridge knocked down in order to get one out at second. Jordan then went deep in the hole at short and threw to second to force out Albert for the final out of the game.
Jordan finished with two hits for the Sweets and Ruff's two-run triple was his second of the season. Walla Walla's three starting pitchers against Kitsap (Arturo Reyes, Zach Brandon and Smith) combined to strike out 20 and walk three in the series.
The Sweets finish their seven-game homestand on Thursday against the Northwest Honkers. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
Walla Walla 4, Kitsap 3
Kitsap 011 010 000 - 3 7 2
Wallla Walla 003 100 00x - 4 8 0
Thomson, Staples (5), Prihar (5), Tato (9) and Benish; Smith, Ashby (8), Anderson (9) and Turner.
HR - none.
Hits - Kitsap: Alvarez, Reyes, Tellez, Bluman 2, Torres, Albert; Walla Walla: Bonczyk, Brackenridge, O'Neil, Ruff, Turner, Robinson, Jordan 2.