So close -- Pickles falter in ninth inning
The Portland Pickles nearly clinched a series victory on Wednesday over the closest rival in the Great West League.
But the host Marysville Gold Sox scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 3-2 and square the three-game set at 1-1.
The Gold Sox also pulled to within 1 1/2 games of Portland in their battle for the fourth and final playoff spot in the six-team, college wood-bat summer league.
The Pickles fell to 16-22, while Marysville climbed to 15-24. Their series finale at Colusa Casino Stadium is 7 p.m. Thursday.
Portland's Zander Clarke, who has a big lead in the GWL home-run standings, blasted his 10th of the season in the sixth inning. Clarke, from UCLA, also scored in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Garcia.
In the Marysville ninth, reliever Sam Muskat (0-1) got the first batter on a strikeout. But the Gold Sox then got men aboard on a single, hit batter and single.
Portland's Renner Steckt came out of the bullpen and walked in a run.
Then Jaisten Cabatbat of Marysville hit a ground ball to shortstop Colin Rubino. He flicked the ball to second baseman Alex Henwood, but the ball went out of Henwood's glove and into center, allowing the Gold Sox to score the tying and winning runs.
The loss tarnished a good start by Colton Walker, who allowed three hits and three walks in five innings. Matt Olstead worked 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief.