Dallas Carroll delivered a two-RBI single in the 1st inning and Bellingham used yet another strong pitching performance to top the Medford Rogues, 2-1 on Tuesday, July 29 at Joe Martin Field.
The win was seen by a record crowd of 3,053 fans on $2 Tuesday, edging the previous attendance record of 3,032 fans set on Tuesday, July 8. Bellingham (33-12, 31-12 WCL) now leads the WCL West Division by 11.5 games, and one more win will clinch the West Division title for Bellingham. One more oss by the Kitsap BlueJackets will also secure the division title for Bellingham.
Third baseman Chris Baker (University of Washington) led off the 1st inning with a single to right field and first baseman Scott Heath (University of Maine) followed later in the inning with a hard-hit single to shortstop that the Medford infielder was unable to field cleanly. A ground out advanced the runners into scoring position before Carroll (University of Utah) singled to left field, scoring both runners.
Medford scored a run in the 4th inning to cut the deficit in half. A leadoff single followed by a hit by pitch put two runners on base, and both advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Catcher Joey Morgan grounded out to second base, scoring a run. Bellingham starter Eder Erives (Arizona State University) stranded the tying run on third base with a strikeout to end the frame.
Erives earned the win, improving to 4-0 on the summer. The right-hander struck out five over six innings of work and walked only one batter. Burk FitzPatrick (University of Delaware) and David Bigelow (Gonzaga University) combined to pitch three scoreless innings of relief. Bigelow earned a two-inning save, and pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning, throwing just five pitches in the frame. It was Bigelow's league-leading 11th save of the summer.
"The pitching tonight was exceptional," Bellingham Pitching Coach Jim Clem said. "You can't say enough, honestly, about the job that both teams did."
Carroll finished 1-for-4 with the clutch two-RBI single. Heath was 2-for-4, and scored a run. Baker was 1-for-4 with a run. Danny Miller (Cal State Chico) and Dustin Breshears (Gonzaga University) also had hits for Bellingham. Breshears tripled to begin the bottom of the 6th inning, but Medford starting pitcher Ivan Dilda retired the next three hitters to strand Breshears.
Dilda had not had an outing longer than 2.2 innings this summer, but struck out eight hitters in eight innings of work.
During the postgame radio show, Clem spoke with Bellingham radio broadcaster Dave Grant about Bellingham's approach in winning one-run games.
"It's just finding a way to win," Clem said. "Mostly, knowing how to play under pressure and knowing what you want to get done in any given situation."
Bellingham takes on Medford Wednesday in the rubber match of the three-game series. It is the last regular season home game for Bellingham, and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.