It's no secret that the Medford Rogues have struggled to close out games the past month in West Coast League baseball, but pitching coach Jeff Lyle has high hopes things may be turning around as the second-year franchise heads down the final stretch of the regular season.

It's no secret that the Medford Rogues have struggled to close out games the past month in West Coast League baseball, but pitching coach Jeff Lyle has high hopes things may be turning around as the second-year franchise heads down the final stretch of the regular season.

The Rogues built a 6-1 advantage through four innings against Walla Walla on Wednesday before seeing that lead trimmed to only two runs in the sixth inning.

Instead of hanging their heads and waiting for the other shoe to fall, the Rogues pitchers reared back and found a way to get the job done with three straight scoreless innings of relief to secure a much-needed 6-4 victory in front of 1,131 at Harry & David Field.

Christian Cox picked up his first win of the summer with six solid innings, while Tyler Bennett, Trent Shelton and Shane Quarterley picked him up with one scoreless inning each for a Medford team that had lost two straight entering the contest.

"That was really great to see out of our bullpen, especially since they've been struggling the last couple weeks or so," said Rogues catcher Joey Morgan, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. "It was great to see them come out of the bullpen and throw strikes and hit their spots and get the job done."

The Rogues (20-18) moved within 41/2; games of WCL South Division leader Corvallis with the win, while Walla Walla dropped to 19-19 overall. The series hinges on tonight's third and final game at 6:35 tonight at Harry & David after the Sweets held on for a 6-5 win on Tuesday.

"They were fueled by last night still and that's a good sign because we weren't sure how many guys are here still just playing and trying to get the summer over with," said Lyle, who had to fill in for manager Josh Hogan after he was ejected following the final strikeout of Tuesday's nail-biter.

"They're beat up, they're getting tired, home's on the mind, girlfriends are on the mind," added Lyle, "and today they had a little get-together before the game and they decided that we're not out of this and we're going to go out and compete and play until the 27th out is recorded. That's what we did tonight, we got contributions from everybody. It was a good team effort."

The Rogues even got a contribution from someone who officially wasn't in the game Wednesday, much to the embarrassment and frustration of Lyle.

Right-handed pitcher Dylan Ramage was called upon to replace Cox in the top of the seventh inning and made the bulk of his warm-up tosses before Walla Walla manager J.C. Biagi noticed Ramage wasn't on the lineup card and quickly informed umpire Eric Martinez before any harm was done. Bennett then replaced Ramage on the mound, leaving the interim manager to shake his head as Ramage left the field with a tip of the cap.

The mishap proved especially stirring for Lyle given that Ramage was slated to return home today and was making his final appearance for the Rogues on Wednesday.

"He was the only guy I wanted to have on there because it was his last day and I screwed up, it got going fast for me," Lyle said. "(Assistant coach Max Gordon) filled out the card but I told him who to put on it and Ramage was on my head the whole time but it just didn't get done for his last game. I apologized to him 100 times and gave him a game ball for it, I just felt so bad for him."

Fortunately for Lyle and the Rogues, the maneuver didn't sway them from sealing the deal against the Sweets. Bennett walked two but escaped his jam in the seventh, Shelton allowed a leadoff single in the eighth before three straight putouts and Quarterley was in top form to get the side in order for his team-record sixth save.

After Walla Walla built a 1-0 advantage in the second inning, Medford countered with a four-run outburst in the third to take the lead for good.

Morgan sparked the rally with a leadoff single — the first hit allowed by starter Spencer Hobson — and was followed by consecutive singles from Adonis Morrison and Spencer Smith to load the bases. After Yuto Kata tied the game with a sacrifice fly, Nathan Etheridge put the Rogues ahead with an RBI single to center field. An RBI groundout by Victor Garcia Jr. and RBI single by Levi Pereira pushed that advantage to 4-1.

Medford picked up where it left off in the fourth inning, with Donald Glover Jr. starting things off by legging out a bunt single and was soon sent racing to third on a double down the right field line by Morgan. An incoming freshman to the University of Oregon after a standout run at Sisters High School, Morgan is hitting a team-best .421 in seven games played this summer.

"I haven't had an abundance of playing time but I like to think that when I have gotten out there I've done pretty well," said Morgan. "Hopefully I'll just keep making the most of my opportunities and see if I can't get on the field more often."

Morrison's RBI sacrifice fly and an RBI double down the left field line by Smith made it 6-1 before reliever Alex Fisher came in to halt the scoring.

Walla Walla finally took advantage and scratched out three runs in the top of the sixth against Cox on four hits, including a two-run double by Ryan Littlefield that barely eluded the diving effort of Smith in center field and an RBI double by Parker Osborne — his second of the game — to make it 6-4.

"We got comfortable, which you've seen all year," said Lyle of the offensive lull after the fourth inning. "(Assistant coach Jared Norris) said we're a little bit like the Yankees, we'll go out and score four or five in an inning and one in the next inning and kind of shut it down and cruise. Luckily tonight the guys came out of the pen and threw strikes and got outs and we didn't really have to go back and talk about the offense shutting it down early. It was a good sign out of the pitchers tonight with limiting the free bases."

It was also a good sign for a Rogues team searching for its second straight playoff berth, with every win coming as a premium these days. Medford has 16 games remaining on its WCL schedule, including nine versus South Division foes Klamath Falls, Bend and Corvallis. After tonight's series-ender against Walla Walla, the Rogues hit the road before finally returning to Harry & David Field on Aug. 4 against Klamath Falls.

More importantly for Lyle, Hogan will be back at the helm tonight after serving his one-game suspension.

"It'll be nice to just go back to watching the pitcher," he said with a shake of his head and a tip of the cap to Biagi. "I was fine until the Ramage thing, and it was just a personal thing at that point. Luckily we got out of that OK and he was fine with it."

Walla Walla 010 003 000 — 4 9 1

Medford 004 200 00x — 6 10 0

Hobson, Fisher (4) and Martinez; Cox, Bennett (7), Shelton (8) and Morgan. W — Cox (1-2). L — Hobson (1-1). S — Quarterley (6). 2B — WW: Osborne 2, Duarte, Littlefield; M: Morgan, Smith, Glover. 3B — M: Garcia.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488,, or