Port Angeles, Wash. --
The Pickles won Sunday in extra innings 5-4, capping a series sweep in Port Angeles following wins of 10-3 and 12-1 to open the series.
Portland improves to 36-15 overall thanks to their 9th straight WCL win and 12th straight win overall. The Pickles have already clinched a playoff spot by virtue of their first half South Division title, and currently lead Corvallis by a half-game for the division's second half (Portland 19-6, Corvallis 18-6). Corvallis has already clinched a playoff spot regardless of second half finish, eliminating Walla Walla from the wild card race. Therefore the Pickles and Knights will meet in the Division Series beginning Friday.
Portland won Sunday in eleven innings, gritting out a 5-4 decision at Civic Field. The Pickles stranded twelve men on base on the day, but were able to overcome an early 3-0 deficit after one inning. An RBI single by Brody Barnum (Washington State) and a two-run single by Daniel Lopez (Portland) evened the game in the second, and Noah Cardenas (UCLA) blasted a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth to make it 4-3. The Lefties tied in the game in the bottom half, but in the eleventh the Pickles loaded the bases with one out and Barnum plated Sam Novitske (Oregon) on a sharply hit grounder into the hole at short. The play resulted in a 6-4 fielder's choice but scored the go-ahead run. Barnum came on to pitch in the bottom of the eleventh, making only his second appearance of the West Coast League season, and struck out the side to earn his first save.
Barnum led the Pickles to the sweep in each game of the series. He homered twice in Friday's series-opener, homered a third time on Saturday, added three hits and the game-winning RBI in Sunday's finale, all while throwing out out a batter trying to stretch a single into a double from right field, and nailed down the save with three straight strikeouts to cap it all. He finished the series 7-for-17 with 3 HR, a double, 5 runs scored and 7 RBI.
The Pickles took game two on Saturday 12-1, with Port Angeles' lone run coming in the bottom of the ninth. Barnum went 2-for-6 with another homer, while Jace McKinney (Portland) had a 3-for-4 game with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. Davis Delorefice (Orange Coast) homered as well in a 2-for-5 effort, his long ball coming after Barnum's shot in a five-run second inning. The Pickles scored in five separate innings, and outhit the Lefties 11-4 in the win.
Michael Newstrom (Washington State) got the win (3-3), striking out six in three innings of middle relief.
In Friday's series opener Michael Frias (UC Irvine) went a season-high 79 pitches to get through five innings, striking out eight, walking one, and scattering three hits without allowing a run to earn the win (3-0). Barnum led off the third with a home run, and hit a two-run shot in the ninth. He finished the game 3-for-5 with two homers and a double with three RBI and 3 runs scored. Delorefice added a pair of RBI as did Jack Murphy (St Mary's) to lead the way.
The Pickles are 19-6 in the second half, still in first place of the South Division over Corvallis . Portland has won nine straight WCL games on the strength of sweeps in Bend, home vs Bellingham and now in Port Angeles. Including the three non-league mid-week wins over Gresham the Pickles have won twelve consecutive games overall.
The Pickles will stay the night in Port Angeles and hop on a ferry Monday afternoon to British Columbia. The final series of the regular season begins Monday at the Victoria Harbourcats.
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