Confusion abounded. Neither Bellingham nor Cowlitz knew what to make of it. Everyone had different ideas of what was supposed to happen. In the end, the Friday night opener between the Bells and Black Bears was suspended and will be resumed on Saturday night before the series' second game. The see-saw affair has Cowlitz ahead, 10-9, in the ninth inning at Story Field on the Lower Columbia College campus in Longview, Wash.
A Cort Carpenter concert, that had originally been scheduled at Story Field for Friday night, was the reasoning behind the game's suspension. Behind the confusion, Bellingham will hit in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday, down one run, with Nate Anderson (Bellevue College), Chris Baker (Washington) and Dustin Breshears (Gonzaga) due up. The second game of the series will begin shortly after the first game ends.
In front of over 1,300 fans on Friday night, the matchup featured three ties and three lead changes. After Bellingham and Cowlitz combined for 10 runs total between the three game series at Joe Martin Field July 25-27, they would combine for 19 total through eight innings on Friday night. Earlier this season, the two West Coast League West Division foes combined for only 13 runs in a three-game series in Bellingham (July 3-5). Friday night's offensive explosion featured several walks from both sides and multiple wild pitches and stolen bases.
Bells starter Gabe Cramer (Stanford) allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and no strikeouts. Cowlitz starter Reza Aleaziz (Oregon State) didn't fare any better, allowing six runs on five hits in only four innings, walking five and striking out three. The Black Bears led 1-0 on a solo home run from Chris Iriart (University of Houston) until Anderson hit his second homer of the season in the third inning to tie it up. From there, fireworks exploded as the offenses came alive. Cowlitz took a 2-1 lead in the third on an RBI single by Daniel Orr (Corban College) and drove in Kort Peterson (UCLA), who scored four times for the Black Bears.
A three-run fourth inning for Bellingham, highlighted by a Baker RBI single gave the Bells a 4-2 advantage until Cowlitz would tie it again. A Jonathan Serven (Long Beach State) single drove in the equalizer for the Black Bears and with Seaver Whalen (Lower Columbia) attempting to score from second base, Anderson unleashed a rocket from centerfield. The throw was on target and Whalen was nailed at home with the game knotted at four.
An RBI single by Jack Klein (Stanford) and a sac-fly RBI from Conner Switzer (Lower Columbia) gave the Bells a 6-4 lead in the fifth, when Cowlitz would tie it again. With two outs in the sixth, Peterson reached on a throwing error and Whalen drilled a 1-1 pitch out of left field for a two-run blast that pulled the Black Bears even again. Bellingham, though, would answer right back with a run in the top of the seventh, when Walker Olis (Pacific University) would score on a fielder's choice ground ball to shortstop off the bat of Dallas Carroll (Utah).
The fun was only beginning. The Bells would score twice more in the top of the eighth on an RBI single from Carroll that scored Breshears and a wild pitch scored Scott Heath (University of Maine), who had walked. Cowlitz would then answer back in their part of the eighth with two-RBI singles by Whalen and Orr to take their first lead since 2-1 in the third. The game was then suspended after Iriart struck out to end the eighth.
Heath, Danny Miller (Chico State) and Olis all scored two runs for the Bells, while Breshears collected three more hits. Peterson scored four times for the Black Bears while Whalen and Elliot Cary (Oregon State) scored twice apiece.
Friday's game will resume at 6:35pm PDT on Saturday, with the second game of the series set to begin shortly after the first is finalized. Catch all the action, beginning at 6:05pm with the pregame show on AM 930 KBAI and 930kbai.com. Dave Grant will have the play-by-play, including interviews with assistant coach Dane Siegfried, Zach Johnson (Edmonds College) and Switzer. Be sure to follow the Bells broadcast team on Twitter before, during and after game action on @BellsRadio.