WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Joe Arlt allowed just one run over 7.1 innings and Ben Ruff recorded the final five outs as the Sweets picked up a huge 4-3 victory over Bellingham on Wednesday night at Borleske Stadium.
Needing to win their remaining nine games to have a chance at the playoffs, the Sweets (20-26) scored the first four runs of the game and were able to hold off a furious Bells (28-18) rally late. The teams split the four games played in Walla Walla this season.
The biggest play of Wednesday's game, however, might have come in the first inning. Bellingham put runners on the corners with one out thanks to a pair of hits but Arlt was able to induce an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep the Bells off the board.
From there, the Sweets were finally able to generate some offense. Kalani Brackenridge worked a leadoff walk in the third and Ryan Cooper followed with a slicing double to left-center to put runners on second and third. In need of a timely at-bat, Kris Paulino gave the Sweets a 1-0 lead with a sac fly to left. Two batters later with runners on the corners and two outs, Spencer O'Neil's hot smash to first was misplayed to make it 2-0 and Shane Zeile followed with a single through the left side to make it 3-0.
Arlt did the rest from there. After a rough start to the summer, Arlt has become a stellar arm for the Sweets, earning his third win of the year. He picked off a runner in the second, worked around an error in the third and struck out a pair to leave a runner on second in the fourth. After leaving two on in the fifth, the Bells finally got to Arlt in the sixth with three-straight two-out hits but Arlt got a popup to the catcher to leave runners on second and third. He finished his night by retiring the final four batters he faced before handing the ball to Ruff with one out in the eighth.
That's when the Bells began to rally. Back-to-back singles from Grant Fink and Jarel Lewis put two on before Ruff struck out Des Santos. The count then went full on Kai Hatch and he ripped a two-run double to right-center. Ruff ended the bleeding there, striking out Jonny Locher to end the frame. He came back out in the ninth determined for his fourth save and got three infield ground balls to earn it.
Outhit 11-7, the Sweets made the most of their hits. Brett Jacobs' line drive single to left-center in the fifth made it 4-0. Kris Paulino doubled and walked and Zeile had his third-straight multi-hit game.
The Sweets will now welcome Kelowna for a crucial four-game series. It is the final four games at home this season for the Sweets. First pitch on Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.