The Corvallis Knights wrapped up their first home series of the season,and closed out a three-game sweep in convincing fashion Sunday night.
Boosted by a shutdown performance on the mound from Tevita Gerber, the Knights put some early runs on the board and then rode their starter as they topped the Cowlitz Black Bears, 6-1, to finish off a successful opening weekend at Goss Stadium.
“I really never imagined pitching here but always dreamt of it,” Gerber said of his first outing at Goss. “To be out there on that mound and see all the fans with all the support, it was really great.”
Gerber, a junior at Dixie State, held the Black Bears to one run on four hits over 6 ⅓ innings in his season debut. The left-hander struck out four and walked just one, with the lone run he surrendered coming on Zach Smith’s solo homer in the fifth inning.
“There was a lot that was working for me,” Gerber said. “I had control of three of my pitches in the zone and that always helps. I was able to throw a lot of off-speed early and mix it with the fastball and that really helped. … The off-speed was huge today. I don’t think I would have done as well without it, and it was great that my teammates had my back behind me today.
Tevita allowed just two runners to reach scoring position on the day. He allowed a single and then issued a two-out walk in the third, but worked his way out of that jam and was cruising before Smith hammered a fastball deep over the center field fence.
In the early innings, Corvallis gave Tevita all the run support he would need. Andy Atwood cracked a one-out double to put a pair of runners in scoring position in the first, and Zack Moeller and Trace Tammaro each followed with run-scoring singles. Moeller later scored on a passed ball to make it 3-0.
In the fifth inning, Corvallis shortstop Michael Curialle crushed a two-run shot to left for his first homer of the season. In the eighth, Curialle would tack on an insurance run for Corvallis with an RBI single that pushed the lead to 6-1.
Curialle, an incoming UCLA freshman, went 2 for 4 on the day and 5 for 11 during the series while hitting near the bottom of the order.
“It felt great,” Curialle said. “I was feeling a little rusty — I haven’t played since, like, end of May. So it’s nice to come out here and do well. … I just tried to continue practicing every day and it was like second nature to get back out here.
With the win, the Knights improve to 5-4 on the season and will continue to make additions to their roster as more players arrive in Corvallis this week.
Corvallis will be in action again when they kick off a three-game home series with the Bellingham Bells Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.