CORVALLIS, Ore. – Left fielder Zak Taylor’s solo homer was the only base hit for the Knights in a 4-1 loss to the Kelowna Falcons in a matchup of first-half division champions.
A rising junior at Oregon State who was named to the South Division all-star team on Monday, Taylor (pictured, above) drove the first pitch he saw from Kelowna starter Sam Menegat well over the left-field fence to give the Knights a 1-0 lead with two outs in the fourth inning.
It was his second homer of the season. The Knights lead the WCL with a franchise-record 30 round-trippers.
However, the rest of the lineup was completely stymied by Menegat, a sophomore-to-be at Mt. Hood CC from Eugene. He faced just three batters over the eight-inning minimum and had 10 strikeouts; every Knight except Taylor and first baseman Dillan Shrum (Nevada-Reno) whiffed at least once.
Closer Jared Gray set the Knights down in order in the ninth for his first save, ending the game in an efficient 2:08.
The Falcons (17-16 WCL, 1-6 second half) snapped their six-game losing streak and stopped Corvallis’ 12-game winning streak. The Knights (27-11 all, 23-11 WCL, 6-1 WCL second half) suffered their first loss since June 28. They had also won nine consecutive WCL games.
Starter Connor Redmond (Cal Poly) was the tough-luck loser. He allowed two runs on seven hits over a season-long seven innings, with five strikeouts and no walks.
The series continues at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. UC Riverside righty Trenton Toplikar (1-0, 5.90) and San Jose State righty Nick Morales (0-0, 1.80) are the probables for the Knights, respectively.