The Corvallis Knights swept their third West Coast League series in a row on Sunday by defeating Yakima Valley 9-1 before a crowd of 1,072 at Goss Stadium.
The Knights (20-6, 15-6) stretched their league winning streak to nine games and moved into a first-place tie with Walla Walla in the South Division’s first-half pennant race when the Sweets lost 6-3 at Ridgefield.
The first-half champion earns an automatic berth and home-field advantage in the divisional playoffs. Each team has six games remaining; the Sweets have the tiebreaker, as they swept the Knights in Walla Walla on June 4-6.
Center fielder Briley Knight homered, singled twice and drove in a run for the Knights, who built a 6-0 lead through three innings and coasted home to finish the season-series against Yakima Valley with a 6-0 mark.
The Knights had plenty of players complement Knight, as they had 13 hits to finish the series with 33. Third baseman Andy Atwood singled three times, scored once and drove in a run. Catcher Zack Moeller added three singles and one RBI.
Left fielder Michael Dixon had two hits, two runs, a walk and an RBI. Right fielder Elliot Willy drove in two runs, Atwood, Moeller, shortstop Brooks Lee and DH Michael Curialle each drove in a run.
Knights’ starter Tevita Gerber took a perfect game into the fifth before allowing three hits and a run in his final inning. He struck out seven, won his third start in a row, lowered his ERA from 4.32 to 2.08.
David Watson threw a scoreless sixth and Trace Hokkanen went the final three innings for his first save.
The Knights step away from WCL play on Monday when they host the Hayesville Hammers, an independent team based in Salem.
They resume WCL action at 6:30 p.m. against South Division rival Portland. Lefty Chase Watkins (1-0, 0.00) will start for the Knights.
The teams meet again at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, concluding the homestand with the annual Oregon State Credit Union Fireworks Night game. Lefty Tim Josten of Cal State Fullerton (2-1, 2.89) is the probable for Corvallis.