08/10/2017 8:54 AM
MEDFORD, Ore. - The Medford Rogues (2-1) defeated the Portland Pickles (1-2) 12-6 on Wednesday night at Harry & David Field. The Rogues will face the Chico Heat in the Championship Series, starting on Friday, August 11th.
Just like in Game Two, Clay Valenzuela-Reece (Campbellsville) led off the bottom of the first with a hit. Johnny DeLaCruz (Louisiana-Monroe) reached on a throwing error by Pickles shortstop Daniel Lopez, and Alex Isola (Yavapai) was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
With two outs in the inning, Dante Gutierrez (University of San Diego) doubled to clear the bases.
Connor Lowrie (Blackhawk JC) singled up the middle to score Gutierrez. Switch-hitter Braden Stutzman (Oregon), batting from the left side, hit an opposite-field two-run home run to give the Rogues an early six run lead.
DeLaCruz and Isola hit back to back singles to open the second inning. Jake Hellweg (Bethune Cookman) hit a ground rule double to score DeLaCruz and advance Isola to third.
Gutierrez reached on a fielder’s choice on a grounder to Lopez, who opted to throw to third base to get Isola, who was off the bag. Isola dove in safely under the tag, and the Rogues had the bases loaded again.
Lowrie delivered again, this time a two-RBI single, which scored Isola, the ninth run of the game for the Rogues.
"It was a constant battle. Being up early like that in a game can be scary. A team can get complacent.... and with their offense, they can put together runs in bunches" said head coach Josh Hogan.
The Rogues held a nine run lead until the top of the fourth, when the Pickles scored three.
Hellweg led off the fourth inning with a solo shot over the right field wall.
Davis Delorefice (Utah) singled in the seventh, DeLaCruz walked, and Isola singled to load the bases again for Gutierrez.
And again, he delivered, this time a two-RBI single to score Delorefice and DeLaCruz.
Starting pitcher Peyton Fuller (Oregon) kept the Pickles hitless through three innings before running in to trouble in the fourth.
Connor Konishi (San Jose State) pitched three innings of one-run ball in relief, and struck out four.
"Connor Konishi was outstanding. Him and Peyton Fuller, they've both grown up substantially. In the meeting after the game, I told them they came in as boys, and they're going to leave as men. And that's what we're here to do." said Hogan. "It's a big testament to Coach (Christian) Coronado and and Coach (Jeff) Lyle for what they have done with them. That's what we're here for: not just for winning games, but for turning boys into men. When they go out there and compete for each other, and have that drive, that fire, it's fun to watch."
With two outs in the top of the eighth inning, a momentary power outage cut the field lights, which engulfed the field in darkness. Fans were directed safely to the exits, and the umpires delayed the game due to weather. The storm subsided, the field lights came back, and play resumed after a 40 minutes delay.
Taylor Frost (Southern Idaho) pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the win.
"He's been our guy all year." said Hogan. "We wanted him to bounce back after what happened yesterday, wanted him to end on a positive note before he goes back into Chico."
The Pickles had a runner on first when Matt Hardy popped out to Hellweg to end the game.
Hogan said, "It was definitely not an easy task against the Pickles... they were a very tough team. I'd say they were a top three team, maybe a top two team through the rest of the season. They're a great team, but the way our guys battled back from the adversity, it gives me chills."
The announced attendance was 1027.
For the full box score: CLICK HERE