VICTORIA, B.C. – Corvallis scored twice in the top of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie and the Knights held on to edge Victoria 3-2 in a West Coast League game at Royal Athletic Park.
It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Knights (25-15-1, 22-13 WCL, 6-2 second half), who remained in first place in the South Division second-half pennant race. It also clinched the season series over Victoria, who Corvallis swept on July 7-9 at Goss Stadium.
Outfielder Cody Hawken (Portland) began the winning rally with a one-out single. With two outs, catcher Zak Taylor (Oregon State) ripped a double; Hawken scored and Taylor advanced to third on an error by the shortstop on the play. Taylor then crossed on a wild pitch with an all-important insurance run to make it 3-1.
Victoria answered in a ninth with a one-out homer off winner Abbot Haffar (UC Riverside). He walked the next batter and was relieved by Oregon reliever Kolby Somers (pictured, above), who struck out the first hitter he faced.
However, Somers then issued two walks to load the bases. The then got the third out on a 5U ground ball to record his third save.
Victoria took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a solo homer. The Knights drew even in the sixth on a single by second baseman Chad Stevens (Portland), two wild pitches and a single by Chandler Anderson (Utah).
Starter Connor Redmond (Cal Poly) allowed one run and seven hits over 5.2 innings, with five strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision. Haffar allowed three hits and one run in 2.2 innings, with four strikeouts.
The series resumes with Game 2 at 6:35 p.m. Thursday; Arizona righty Cameron Haskell (2-1, 5.94) will start for Corvallis, opposed by Mason Shaw (2-1, 3.17) of Yakima Valley College.
It concludes at 6:35 p.m. Friday. The projected starters are Connor Knutson of Portland (3-0, 3.45) for the Knights and Landon Anderson of Cal State-Fullerton (0-0, 3.50) for Victoria.
The Knights play at Portland this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Their next home game is Tuesday vs. Kelowna.