It was a pitcher’s duel from the get-go as the pitchers from both teams controlled the game. Alex Bos got the start for the Dukes and held Bellingham scoreless in his five innings of action. The left-hander kept the Bells off-balance with his array of off-speed pitches and accuracy, walking only one hitter in five innings.
Bellingham approached the non-league game differently than Portland, using it as an opportunity for numerous pitchers to get action. Coming off a two-hit performance at the plate in Sunday’s game, J.R. Bunda started on the mound and pitched two scoreless innings despite hitting three batters.
Chris Howard, Evan Hudson, Jack Vander Linden, and Nick Palewicz each pitched a scoreless inning, setting the stage for the Bells debut of Jacob Coats. Though he was unable to pitch this entire college season with an arm injury, Coats got out of jams in both the seventh and eighth innings to preserve the scoreless game.
The Bells finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth. Andy Fortuna led off the eighth inning with a hit by pitch and advanced to third after two wild pitches. He scored on a clutch one-out double by Kai Hatch, putting the Bells ahead 1-0.
Ryan Deeter was summoned to close the game and began the ninth inning with a walk and hit by pitch. He recovered though, getting the next two hitters to pop out. He then had to face Derek Atkinson, the Dukes’ top hitter and owner of two of the team’s three hits entering the at-bat. A passed ball allowed Dukes runners to advance to second and third as Deeter brought the count to 1-2. Atkinson then lined a curveball into right field, scoring two runs and giving Portland a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Fortuna and Michael Aquino led the Bells offensively, each providing two hits.
Bellingham will resume WCL play Thursday against Klamath Falls at Joe Martin Field. Game 1 of the three-game series begins at 7:05 p.m.