WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Bucks used a six-run fourth inning and solid pitching to earn a 7-3 victory over the Sweets in the series finale on Sunday evening at Borleske Stadium.
With the temperatures reaching over 100 degrees at first pitch, the Sweets (16-18) struggled to find any consistency against the Bucks. They were held to just three runs on six hits.
The Sweets did score the game's first run but their lead was short lived. In the third, Kris Paulino and Alex Bonczyk hit back-to-back triples to right field to put the hosts ahead, 1-0.
Central Oregon responded immediately in the fourth inning. The first five Bucks all reached base safely before an out was recorded as Jake Asevedo's single tied the game and Zach Close's two-run single put the Bucks up for good. A bases-loaded walk made it 4-1, Ryne Clark's fielder's choice made it 5-1 and the final run scored as the Sweets dropped the ball during a rundown.
Kevin Hammon and Austin Guzzon did the rest for the Bucks. The two hurlers limited the Sweets to just two runs over the next 5.1 innings. Hammon held the Sweets off the board until the seventh inning when a Bonczyk bases-loaded single made it 6-2 and Shane Zeile sac fly made it 6-3. Guzzon entered after that and would strike out three over the next two scoreless innings.
Zach Brandon started for the Sweets and was chased when the Bucks scored six runs in the fourth. Joe Arlt entered to get out of the fourth and went on to toss 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. Matt Imhof and Luke West combined for the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits.
Paulino had two hits, scored a run and reached base four times thanks to a pair of walks. Bonczyk finished with two hits and two RBI.
The Sweets will have Monday off before beginning a six-game road trip in Longview, Wash., on Tuesday. The Sweets will face Cowlitz for three games and then head south to Klamath Falls, Ore., for a three-game set with the Gems next weekend.