BlueJackets sting Rogues
Pitcher Jon Oltman provided the Kitsap BlueJackets something they hadn't received all season — a complete game.
Oltman handcuffed the Medford Rogues on two hits and Kitsap capitalized on two home runs to register a 4-1 West Coast League victory Friday at Harry & David Field.
The BlueJackets (13-22) victory evens the three-game series at one apiece with the rubber game set for 6:35 tonight at Harry & David Field. The first 500 fans will receive a bobblehead of Rowdy, the Rogues' mascot.
Oltman, who leads the WCL with a 1.05 earned run average, improved to 2-0 on the season. The 6-foot left-hander from Creighton University struck out two and walked one in a 95-pitch performance.
"It was a fantastic effort," said Kitsap first-year coach Matt Cartwright. "He got a lot of quick outs. When he got behind he executed his pitches on a hitter's count."
Oltman didn't allow a hit through five innings but trailed 1-0.
The Rogues (14-21) scored an unearned run in the fourth to take the initial lead. Brock Pradere reached on shortstop Jordan Peabody's error to open the inning. Pradere moved to third on groundouts by John Kinne and Dan Mayer, then scored when Oltman bounced a 0-1 pitch to Billy Fredrick past catcher Braden Wolgamott.
Medford's hits came on leadoff singles by J.J. Kitaoka in the sixth and Fredrick in the seventh.
"I was trying to get ahead with the fastball," said Oltman, "then throw my changeup in there. Our plan was to work off-speed against the middle of their order."
Medford starter Kohl Hostert (1-3) pretty much matched Oltman through six innings. But with one out in the seventh, third baseman Joe Siegel lined the eighth pitch of the at-bat over the left field wall to tie the score 1-all.
"I remember the pitch well," said Hostert, the Idaho high school player of the year in 2013. "I threw a changeup. It was just a couple inches too high. If it was lower he would have swung over the top. I just made the one mistake."
Despite allowing the blast by Siegel, Medford coach Josh Hogan liked what he saw from Hostert, who pitched in seven games his freshman season for Oregon.
"He pounded the zone with strikes, kept his pitches low and had a good tempo," said Hogan. "That's all we can ask out of him."
After Wolgamott doubled following Siegel's home run and Hostert issued a five-pitch walk to Ryan Atkinson, Hogan summoned Ashland High product Jamie Flynn from the bullpen.
Flynn, who recently committed to play for Cornell after being at Lane Community College, got two groundouts to work out of the jam. But Flynn ran into trouble the following inning.
Flynn walked Kyle Nobach to open the eighth and, one out later, Brett Bautista singled on a hard grounder that ricocheted off Flynn's ankle. With runners on first and third, Aaron Ping connected for a 345-foot home run to left.
"(Flynn) got behind 2-0," said Ping. "So I was really looking for one pitch and I got it.
"I squared it up pretty good," explained Ping about his first home run of the season. "It was one of those swings you don't feel a thing."
After scoring 13 runs the night before, Hogan was not pleased with his team's approach at the plate against Oltman.
"I think we made him look a little better than he is," said Hogan. "We didn't make any adjustments at the plate. We only had nine quality at-bats out of 32. It's tough to win a game that way."
Prior to the game, the Rogues management took a fan-friendly approach to help with the oppressive heat affecting the Rogue Valley by installing a 5-foot shade screen behind the bleachers on the third-base line.
"We thought it was something necessary for the fans," said Medford general manager Ian Church. "We want to do anything to try to make our fans more comfortable. It was the quickest fix we could think of."
The shade screen proved effective by casting about 15 feet of shade for the fans sitting in the bleachers on the third-base line.
Oltman and Wolgamott; Hostert, Flynn (7), Mulvaney (8), Wilson (9) and McWhertor. W — Oltman (2-0). L — Flynn (1-2). 2B — K: Wolgamott. HR — K: Siegel (1), Ping (1).
Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480 or firstname.lastname@example.org