Looking to kick-start a final home-stand drive to a playoff spot, Bellingham was not able to take advantage of numerous scoring opportunities against Medford Wednesday night, falling 3-2 to the Rogues.
For the second straight game, Bells fans were treated to some excellent performances by Bells starting pitchers. Tonight, right-hander Nick Baker took the mound and gave up three runs on seven hits while striking out 12 in 8 2/3 innings, giving way to Nate Cole, who came on in relief in the ninth.
“We had two excellent pitching performances the last two nights,” said Bells manager Gary Hatch. “I can’t say enough about what this guys did. Baker was great tonight, but unfortunately we weren’t able to give him enough run support.”
The Bells were first on the board tonight, scoring one run in the first inning on a leadoff single by Johnny Sewald and a Johnny Farrington walk. Sewald stole 3rd and crossed the plate on Eric Angerer’s RBI single to center field.
Medford struck back in the third with two outs and the bases loaded. Pitching to the WCL’s leading hitter, Kevin Davidson, Baker attempted a pickoff at first and threw wide left of the bag allowing runners on second and third to score the tying and go-ahead runs.
Other than the eighth, the Bells threatened in every inning from the third on, but simply did make the timely hits that Hatch was looking for from his squad.
“Fans have seen great baseball games played over the last two nights even though we lost,” he said. “We’ve got to clutch up with men in scoring position and try to get the ball in the outfield. We’re not doing the job at the plate, but not because of a lack of effort.
“We haven’t taken advantage of opportunities for two nights in a row.”
Down 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, Farrington gets a walk to lead off the inning and stole second before Angerer was hit by a pitch to put men on first and second.
Pinch hitter Jack Meggs hit a grounder to short that forced Angerer at second, but he beat the relay to first as Farrington crossed the plate to tie the score at two.
With two consecutive singles in the eighth, Medford again took advantage of another pickoff attempt to score the winning run. With runners on the corners, Baker threw to first to catch the runner between first and second, but the runner on third started for home only to score when catcher Jake Bailey couldn’t hold on to the ball.
The loss puts the Bells 1/2 game back of new division leader Wenatchee, which beat Walla Walla for a second consecutive night to.
Bellingham has now lost three straight and will try to take the series finale from Medford Thursday night at Joe Martin Field. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and all the action can be heard online at bellinghambells.com with Mike Weisman on the call.