After Wednesday's loss to Kitsap- Bellingham's first loss since June 21st- the Bells flexed their muscles in an impressive display of offense that featured six players with multiple hits. The balanced offensive attack was led by Dustin Breshears (Gonzaga) and Dallas Carroll (Utah) who both collected four hits and scored three runs apiece. Bellingham used a seven run sixth inning to take a 12-3 lead, only to have the Falcons score three times to cut the advantage to 12-6 after six. The Bells would add four runs in the eighth before Kelowna brought in five. In front of nearly 1,100 fans, Bellingham beat the Falcons for the fourth time in as many tries this season and moved to 21-6 in West Coast League play.
"Tonight we got contributions from all over the lineup," said Bells assistant coach Mike Gange. "Our guys know that we can score runs and proved it tonight."
Scott Heath (Maine) went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and 4 RBI while Danny Miller (Chico State), Walker Olis (Pacific University) and Colby Woodmansee (Arizona State) each drove in two runs in the high scoring affair. Kelowna would not break, however, as they answered with runs in both the sixth and eighth innnigs to keep the game close.
"Give them credit. They came out tonight and hung tough with us," Bells second basement Dustin Breshears said. "Our guys executed when we needed to and took advantage of mistakes."
Four errors helped Bellingham's cause, including two in the first inning when the Bells would take a 3-0 lead after RBI's by Olis and Woodmansee. The Bells used 17 singles to overwhelm Kelowna, as Bellingham jumped on the Falcon's bullpen in the sixth inning. All but one Bells starter scored at least one run. Seth Martinez (Arizona State), who retired 12 hitters at one point, scattered six runs over 5 2/3 innings while striking out five and walking five. He won for the third time this season and has not lost during his collegiate career (5-0 with ASU during the spring, 3-0 with Bells).
"He pitched well tonight," said Gange of Martinez. "Once he gets on a roll, he's difficult to hit against."
A three-run home run by Nick Minteer (Gonzaga) in the first inning tied the game at three for Kelowna. Martinez would then set down the next 12 hitters he faced in order as the Bells took a 12-3 lead after the seven run sixth inning. The Falcons would not go quietly, as they pushed five runs across in the eighth inning, as they jumped all over Bellingham reliever Burk FitzPatrick (Delaware). Will Fox (TCU) paced the Kelowna offense with three hits, while they got contributions from all over their lineup. Scotland Church (Weatherford College) and Brandon Grimsley (Murray State College) combined to score five runs with four walks and two runs scored.
"This was a tough series in Bellingham (with Kelowna)," said Gange. "We came here, after a night game last night and proved that just because we are on the road doesn't mean we can't play good baseball."
Aaron Mason (Fort Scott College) scattered eight hits in five innings, with two earned runs and three strikeouts for Kelowna. It was the Falcon bullpen who let them down- nine earned runs in four innings- while walking five and allowed 11 hits. Wyatt Mills (Gonzaga) picked up the loss on Thursday night as the Falcons dropped their 20th West Coast League game.
"We feel we can play with them on any given night," Gange said. "Obviously jumping on them early helped, but they battled back. This is going to be a back-and-forth series."
Friday's first pitch at Elks Stadium is set for 6:35pm PDT with Aaron Sandefur (Bellevue College) the probable starter for Bellingham opposed by Anthony Moriarty (New Mexico State). Dave Grant will have the play-by-play on AM 930 KBAI and online at www.930kbai.com starting with pregame at 6:05pm PDT. Be sure to check www.bellinghambells.com for upcoming schedule information.