The Bellingham Bells (22-17) rally came up short in the ninth inning, as the Bells left the bases loaded and fell 7-5 to the Victoria HarbourCats (29-10) at Royal Athletic Park Friday night.
Bellingham scored five runs, including three in the ninth, in the final three innings of the game to close the gap.
Victoria scored five runs in the first three frames and two runs in the sixth inning to take a 7-0 lead into the seventh inning. Danny Caslas singled and moved to second a wild pitch. Austin Shenton brought him home with an RBI single to put the Bells on the board at stretch time in Victoria.
Bellingham added another run in the eighth. Andru Cardenas walked and stole second. Cardenas moved one base closer on a Landon Riker flyout. And Cardenas crossed the plate on a Chase Strumpf RBI sacrifice fly for the Bells second run of the day. Bellingham trailed 7-2 after seven and half innings.
In the ninth inning, Justin Polzin walked and moved to second when Matt Ruff was hit by a pitch. Following a Gunnar Schubert fly out, Andru Cardenas walked to load the bases for Riker. Riker unloaded them with one swing of the bat, ripping a double down the left field that plated all three runners. Chase Strumpf walked and after David Banuelos reached on error by the shortstop, the bases were loaded for Casals. A Casals strikeout left the bases loaded and prevented the Bells from sweeping the series.
On the mound, Joey Matulovich (2-4) tossed four innings and was tagged with five runs on six hits and five walks while striking out six. Zach Johnson closed out the game, firing four innings and allowing two runs while fanning three.
Cameron Schneider (3-0) earned his third win of the summer, dealing seven innings for Victoria on the bump while allowing only one run on four hits.
Bellingham returns home tommorrow, Saturday July 23rd for the first game of a three game set against the Wenatchee AppleSox. First pitch will be thrown a 7:05, with pre-game coverage starting at 6:35 with Tom Prizeman on 930 AM KBAI and on network1sports.com/kbai. To purchase tickets visit http://bellinghambells.com/home/ or call (367) 527-1035.