After Bend’s first two hitters walked and came around to score, it looked like a potentially long night for pitcher Kyle Schepel and the Bellingham Bells. Instead, Schepel settled down and went on to dominate Bend, leading the Bells to a 5-3 victory that snapped a six-game losing streak.
Schepel went eight innings and gave up three runs on only three hits, striking out five. The right-hander’s off-speed pitches were especially sharp and he left his team in a position to take advantage of Bend’s seven errors.
The Bells got a huge break in the top of the sixth inning while trailing 3-2. Ben Grubb was on first base when Eric Lane hit a chopper to the third baseman, who tried to turn a double play but instead threw the ball into right field. The right fielder subsequently overthrew third base, scoring Grubb and moving Lane over to third base. Lane eventually scored on an RBI groundout by Ryan Moore, giving the Bells a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Kai Hatch made it a 5-3 game in the seventh inning after singlehandedly manufacturing a run. He singled with one out and made his way around to third base on a botched pickoff attempt and steal, eventually scoring on the catcher’s throw to first following Pat Gallagher’s strikeout on a ball in the dirt.
Richie Ochoa got the save after relieving Schepel in the ninth inning. Ochoa gave up a bloop single to start the inning but got the next three hitters out, including two strikeouts.
The Bells were led offensively by two hit games from Andy Fortuna and Jeff Gelalich, who was making his Bells debut.
Bellingham opens their three-game series in Corvallis tomorrow with a doubleheader that begins at 6:05 PM.