After a leadoff walk, Portland went to closer Billy Sahlinger, who allowed only two hits while picking up a save with 2 1/3 innings Friday night. he walked Chris Rabago and pinch hitter Jordan Morrison hit an RBI single through the right side. Sahlinger bobbled a bunt by Ryan Cooper that loaded the bases.
Jeff Stephens then cranked the first pitch he saw into the left-centerfield gap for a two-run double to tie the game. That brought sensational junior college transfer Dominique Taylor. Despite having a base open, Portland elected to face Taylor and he made them pay.
Taylor said Sahlinger tried to attack him exactly the same as he did yesterday, so Taylor was ready today even though he fell behind in the count. When Sahlinger tried to fool him with a fastball after getting ahead with off-speed pitcher, Taylor had in mind what was coming. With two strikes, he hit a drive deep into left field for a game-winning single and was mobbed between first and second base.
The ‘Eaters jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings. Starting pitcher Kyle Hooper had allowed only three hits through the first five innings, but Portland roughed him up for four runs in the sixth.
UC Irvine tied the game 4-4 when Rabago drove in Kris Paulino with a two-out single in the sixth inning, but the Pilots cruised to single runs in each of the next three innings to take a 7-4 lead into the final half inning.
Freshman Ellot Surrey picked up his first collegiate victory thanks to the ninth inning rally.
Check out the 20-shot photo gallery from the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader: