One big inning doomed the Bellingham Bells (25-13) Wednesday Night at Joe Martin Field as the Victoria HarbourCats (18-20) pushed three runs across in the third inning on their way to a 4-1 win.
Although Bells and HarbourCats pitchers combined to give up 15 hits on the night, it was still a game that was led by the pitching. Bells starter Andrew Summerville (1-2) went five innings and limited his walks to just two. He was sunk by a three run third inning that was started by his final free pass of the night.
The top of the third inning started with a walk to Michael Gretler and was soon followed by back to back singles that brought in the first run of the night. Two batters later, Austin Guibor delivered the decisive blow with a double to left center field to bring in two more runs and give the HarbourCats an early 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Bells managed to answer the crooked number of the HarbourCats with a single run. The rally started with a leadoff single from Beau Branton and was followed by a Lou Della Fera walk. Branton batted eighth and combined with Lou Della Fera as the nine hitter to reach base five times in eight trips to the plate. Branton scored two batters later on a Jesse Kuet RBI ground out to get the Bells on the board and make it a 3-1 game.
It would be the only run Bells hitters could muster against HarbourCats pitchers. Starter Austin Dondanville (3-1) never dominated but pitched effectively to contact and was able to scatter seven hits over his six and two thirds of an innings of work. The Bells actually out hit the HarbourCats on the night, eight to six, losing for just the third time this year when out hitting an opponent.
Nick Wojtysiack followed Dondanville to shut out the Bells the rest of the way. He came in with two outs in the seventh inning and Bells at second and third to face Jesse Kuet. Kuet sent the fifth pitch of the at-bat up the middle only to see HarbourCat second basemen Griffin Andreychuck dive to his right and throw on to first to end the inning.
The defense went the other way for the Bells. Five errors were committed by Bells defenders, all throwing errors. Oddly enough none of the errors factored into the scoring but the final two of the night came on one play.
The double error was charged to Bells reliever Cody Anderson in the top of the seventh inning. He bobbled a Scott Jarvis chopper for error number one and then made a throw that went down the right field line for the second error. Jarvis was not content with two bases and rounded second trying to get to third when Walker Olis threw a strike to third basemen Patrick McGrath for the first out of the inning. Anderson went on to finish the inning after the double error and did not allow a run in his two innings out. The five errors were the most committed by the Bells this year at Joe Martin Field.
The loss snaps a four game winning streak for the Bells and has moved the HarbourCats into second place by themselves, seven games behind the Bellingham Bells.
Tomorrow will be rubber game to decide who wins the series. Andrew Kemmerer will take the ball for the Bells for a first pitch scheduled at 7:05 p.m. Erik Oas will be on the call with a 6:50 p.m. pregame show.