CORVALLIS — With their backs to the wall entering the final game of a three-game series against the Corvallis Knights, the Walla Walla Sweets rose to the challenge Monday afternoon.
A season-high 13 runs crossed the plate, and Walla Walla pitching fought its way through tough innings, to give the Sweets the 13-8 win and avoid the series sweep in West Coast League play.
In the first inning, Walla Walla’s Parker Osborne went deep for his second home run of the season.
But the Knights roared back in the bottom half for three runs against Walla Walla starter Cody Carroll.
The Sweets tied the score in the third on singles by Cooper Hummel, Jarod Gonzales and Andrew Mendenhall, and a two-run double by Jordan Frabasilio.
After the Sweets extended their lead to four runs in the fourth behind three walks and a Corvallis error, the Knights answered with one run in the home half on a Scott Quinlan triple and a sacrifice fly by Alec Smith to make it 5-4.
But after the Knights tied the game again in the bottom of the fifth via a Sweets throwing error, neither team scored the next two innings.
Jay Flaa took over for Carroll in the seventh inning, inheriting runners at first and second with two out. After walking Joe Duffin to load the bases, he struck out Jackson Soto on a 3-2 pitch to escape the inning unharmed.
In the eighth, Walla Walla broke the tie with a Mendenhall RBI double off the left-field wall that scored Osborne from first.
Entering the ninth inning with a 6-5 lead, the Sweets looked for some insurance runs — and got more.
Mike Paulson led off with a double and moved to third on Russell Crippen’s single.
Ryan Littlefield struck out, but J.J. Robinson walked to load the bases for Hummel, who singled just beyond the outstretched glove of second baseman Kevin Farley.
Gonzales drew a bases-loaded walk to force home a run, and after Mendenhall singled home a pair, Frabasilio scored one with another single and Paulson doubled home two more to make it 13-5.
Flaa walked two of the first three Knights batters in the ninth before serving up a three-run homer to Duffin, but the Sweets held on to improve to 4-5 on the season.
Mendenhall went 4-for-6 with two RBI, and Frabasilio was 3-for-5 while driving in four for the Sweets.
The Sweets return to Borleske Stadium today to face Kelowna at 7:05.
Sweets 13, Knights 8
Walla Walla 102 200 017 — 13 14 4
Corvallis 300 110 003 — 8 7 6
Carroll, Flaa (7) and Hummel. Bishop, Sodders (4), Calomeni (4), Eberhardt (7), Lockwood (8) and Lund.
HR — WW: Osborne. Cor: Duffin.
Hits — WW: Gonzales, Osborne, Mendenhall 4, Frabasilio 3, Paulson 2, Crippen, Hummel 2. Cor: Melker 2, Duffin 2, Farley, Quinlan, Kelly.