GRESHAM, Ore. – The Knights moved one step closer to winning the South Division’s first-half title with a 13-3 victory over Gresham in the opener of their three-game series.
Dillan Shrum (Nevada-Reno, pictured above) hit a three-run homer, Taylor Travess (Oregon) doubled, singled and drove in three runs, Zak Taylor (Oregon State) drove in three runs and Chad Stevens (Portland) had two RBIs for Corvallis. Emilio Alcantar (Lewis-Clark State) added three hits.
Shut out in their previous two WCL games, the Knights busted out in impressive fashion, with a homer, six doubles and 20 total hits.
The Knights (18-10 all, 15-10 WCL) now lead second-place Yakima Valley (12-11) by two games in the South Division pennant race. Corvallis has two games remaining, Yakima Valley four; the Knights can clinch the first-half title by winning the final two games of the series, or by winning once coupled with a Pippins’ loss.
The Knights have advanced to the WCL playoffs in each of their previous 10 seasons in Corvallis.
Corvallis scored twice in the third and twice in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead, and then erupted for seven runs in the eighth inning to break the game open. Shrum’s three-run homer, the league-leading 21st for the Knights, was the big blow in the clinching rally.
Starter Connor Redmond (Cal Poly) allowed five hits and two runs, one earned, in a season-long six-inning stint. He had five strikeouts and evened his record at 1-1. Relievers Dakota Donovan (OSU) and Darren Nelson (Cal Poly) finished up.
The series continues at 6:35 p.m. Saturday. UC Irvine righty Cole Spear (1-1, 3.11) will start for the Knights, opposed by Western Oregon sophomore right-hander Alex Roth.
UC Riverside righty Trenton Toplikar (0-0, 6.35) starts Sunday’s 5:05 p.m. finale, opposed by Lewis & Clark right Robert Reaser (0-2, 2.66). The Knights open a three-game home series with Bend at 7:15 p.m. Monday.