WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee AppleSox (4-5, 1-4) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead against the Corvallis Knights (5-4, 4-4), Saturday, but Corvallis took over, scoring the next eight while quieting the AppleSox bats to the finish in an 8-4 win.
The AppleSox strung together four-consecutive hits in the bottom of the first after starter Kyle Blankenship retired the side in order to open the game in the top half. The AppleSox scored all four runs after an error allowed Jacob Prater aboard. Chase Lewallen, Andrew Helmstadter, Sheldon Liikala, and Nick Nyquist all had hits in order to help score the four runs.
Helmstadter ran into some defense troubles in the third inning, however, with a couple throwing errors that resulted in two Corvallis runs. The others were driven home in a four-run frame for the Knights.
AJ Valencia swung a hot bat for Corvallis, going 2-5, with a run scored and 3 RBI. He added two more to a 6-4 lead, with an 2-RBI single in the sixth inning, to give Corvallis the four-run winning margin.
The Knights starter – the fifth consecutive left-hander the AppleSox have faced to open league play – had Wenatchee in fits after the first inning. Cory Nelson (1-0), threw seven innings of seven-hit baseball, allowing four runs (none earned), with five strikeouts and no walks.
Kyle Blankenship (0-1), finished with 4 2/3 innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits, while striking out three and walking two.
Anthony Contonio and Brian Gadsby pitched in relief of Blankenship. Contonio gave up the two-run single to Valencia, but Gadsby was strong, allowing no hits over two innings, with a strikeout.
Corvallis’ lone reliever on the night was Craig Colen. He worked two innings and retired the Sox in order, with two strikeouts.
Wenatchee was sent down 1-2-3 in each of the final four innings.
Corvallis earned the series win, and the set concludes Sunday at 6:05 p.m. It is Spaghetti Sunday at the park, so from the time gates open, up ‘til first pitch, fans can get a plate of spaghetti and a slice of garlic bread for $7.50. Gage Burland (0-0), will face Austin Kelly (0-0) – the Sox first right-handed opposing starter in 2015.
WP: Cory Nelson (1-0)
LP: Kyle Blankenship (0-1)