Kelowna Falcons

Splitting Twin Bill

The Kelowna Falcons picked up a split in their two-game doubleheader on Saturday night against the Portland Pickles, beginning with a 6-4 loss in the opening game before closing with a 3-2 victory at Elks Stadium.

Portland picked up runs in each of the first four innings, including a three-run second inning, to help them to a victory in the opening game of the doubleheader before Zac Bygum dealt four scoreless innings with Reece Weinberg and Cal Hehnke coming through in the late innings to preserve the game and help the Falcons to a 3-2 win and a split of the two games.

In the opening game, the Pickles opened the scoring in the top half of the first inning before Trent Tinglestad continued his home run hitting ways with a two-run shot to straight away centerfield for his 7th big fly of the season to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead after an inning.

The lead didn’t last long for Kelowna as Portland scored three runs in the 2nd inning, spurred by a two-run single by Jack Murphy to take a 4-2 lead. Another Portland run came in to score before Dylan Orick pushed an RBI single up the middle to cut the deficit to 5-3. The Pickles scored their sixth run of the game to take a 6-3 lead with Drew Williams picking up an RBI single to get the Falcons within a pair of runs but would be the closest they got as Portland earned a 6-4 victory in the opening game of the doubleheader.

“I thought our bullpen did a good job of picking up Jared (Akin) and kept us in the game late,” stated Falcons pitching coach Steve Dennison, “(Bradley) Stookey did a great job and the offence kept pressing but just turned out to not be enough.”

The second game was a lot tighter of a game with just five total runs scored and a terrific outing from Zac Bygum, who allowed just one hit through two innings, dueling with Pickles starter Joel Casillas who also had a strong command on the game.

Portland had the best opportunity to open the scoring in the game as they loaded the bases with one out but back-to-back strikeouts by Bygum closed out the inning and his outing by allowing no runs and led to the Falcons opening the scoring in the game.

“To me, I treated it like I was a reliever and that I was coming out there in the 7th inning each time,” said Bygum of his start, “I was fired up about getting out of the jam in the 4th especially with the guys able to get a couple of runs in the bottom half of the inning and the bullpen locked it down for us.”

A one-out triple from Taylor Wright gave way to an RBI single off of the bat of Dan Pruitt to get the Falcons on the board and lead 1-0 before he was driven in on an RBI hit from Jake Fischer and Kelowna jumped ahead by a 2-0 score.

Portland had an answer with a pair of RBI singles of their own off of reliever Isaac Olson in the top half of the 5th inning but the Falcons quickly stole the lead back in bottom half of the frame with Wright standing in with two outs and delivering a base hit up the middle to score Austen Butler for the 3-2 lead.

Reece Weinberg came on with a scoreless inning of relief before Cal Hehnke entered the game to close things out in the 7th inning and did just that in earning his 5th save of the season and split the two-game doubleheader with a 3-2 victory in the Saturday night cap.

“It was really good to see Bygum step up in a big spot and give us some big innings,” commented Dennison, “Weinberg came in and pitched well before Cal shut the door on a good win for our ball club.”

The Falcons (16-13) take on the Pickles (18-10) in the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday evening with the first pitch set for 6:05 PM. Tickets can be purchased on the Falcons website and also at the gate ahead of the opening pitch of the ballgame.

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