It was business as usual for the Bells on Tuesday night, as they clinched another series with a 7-2 win over Victoria on Tuesday at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, B.C. and moved to 7-3 overall this season. Seth Martinez (Arizona State) allowed two runs in the second inning, then settled down to retire 19 consecutive hitters and carved up the HarbourCats offense all night long. He allowed only two hits and struck out a season-high 10 hitters in eight innings. After Victoria's two hits in the second inning, they did not record another for the entirety of the night.
"It's fun to play behind him," Bellingham assistant coach Mike Gange said of Martinez. "Coach (Jim) Clem and I were discussing early on about the adjustment that he made from start to start and it showed his maturity."
Bellingham opened up the scoring in the second inning after a single by Jimmy Sinatro (Gonzaga) and Danny Miller (Chico State) reached on an error. Dylan Garcia (Chico State) drove in Sinatro with a single and Dustin Breshears (Gonzaga) drove in Miller when he grounded into a double-play. Victoria answered back with two runs of their own in the second, after a two-RBI double by Nathan Lukes (Sacramento State) drove in both Devin Carter (Pepperdine) and Ted Boeke (Loyola Marymount). Sinatro then drove in Lou Della Fera with a sac-fly RBI in the fifth inning that gave the Bells a 3-2 lead. That lone run was all Martinez would need as he was on cruise control from the third through the seventh innings.
"It makes it easy when your pitcher was as dialed in as Seth was," Gange said. "He worked quickly and didn't give Victoria a lot of chances."
Andrew Nelson (Kentucky) took the loss, as he scattered five hits over six innings and allowed only three runs- two earned- with four strikeouts. He pitched well enough to win, but his bullpen did him no favors after he departed in the sixth. Preston Ryan (University of New Mexico) allowed two runs in the eighth after he walked Garcia to start the inning, Colby Woodmansee (Arizona State) doubled and Breshears drove in a run on a groundout. A wild pitch by Ryan allowed Woodmansee to score, as Bellingham went up 5-2. Alex Fagalde (Cuesta College) didn't fare much better, as he allowed two runs in the ninth, after a Scott Heath (University of Maine) single, a Sinatro RBI triple and an Ian Yetsko (Oakland University) RBI single.
"Our guys are having better approaches at the plate and making adjustents during the game," said Gange. "The maturity of this squad is a fun thing to watch."
Bellingham has now scored 87 runs through the season's first 10 games and is hitting .320 as a team combined. Both of those statistics lead the West Coast League. Martinez is now 2-0 for the Bells this season and has not lost a collegiate game so far in his career (he went 5-0 with Arizona State this past spring as a freshman). Bellingham looks to close out the series with a sweep on Wednesday night against a Victoria team suddenly desperately searching for offensive answers. The HarbourCats came into the series with the Bells having scored 41 games through their first nine games, yet have managed just three in the past 18 innings against Bellingham pitching.
First pitch on Wednesday night is scheduled for 7:11 PM PDT from Royal Athletic Park and the pregame show begins at 6:50 PM PDT with Dave Grant calling the play-by-play. You can enjoy Bells baseball by going to www.bellinghambells.com and clicking on the "listen live" link.