An early home run from Chase Pinder and a pair of runs late were not quite enough to lift the Sacramento River Cats to a seventh straight victory, as they saw an end to their winning streak with a 4-3 decision at the hands of the Oklahoma City Baseball Club on the road Wednesday.

Just one pitch into the game and the River Cats (11-6) had a runner on second, starting things with a deep double to center field that one-hopped the wall by Luis Matos. Despite him getting to third with less than two outs, he failed to cross the plate and was left stranded.


Meanwhile, Oklahoma City (11-6) also could not capitalize on a great scoring chance in the first after they loaded the bases with a single sandwiched by a pair of walks. Sacramento starter Carson Whisenhunt (0-2) was able to avoid danger after his second strikeout of the inning, and he went on to punch out six total for his outing.

The scoreless tie was broken with two outs in the top of the second, all thanks to one swing of the bat from Chase Pinder. On an 2-2 pitch, Pinder launched his first big fly of the campaign over the wall in left field, giving the River Cats a slim 1-0 edge. That lead lasted just two batters, as Jonathan Arauz took the first pitch of the home half of the second out for his own solo homer that once again brought the game level.


In their next set of swings Oklahoma City captured its first lead of the series, doing so thanks to a double from Andre Lipcius before a home run from Kody Hoese brought both home for the 3-1 advantage.

Once more in the fourth the River Cats had a chance to score with a runner at third and less than two outs, as Blake Sabol made it just 90 feet from home after a single and stolen base before advancing to third on a throwing error. Yet again, Sacramento struggled to get the clutch hit as he was left aboard at third.


That allowed Oklahoma City to swing more momentum in their favor, as they tallied what proved to be the game-winning run on another leadoff homer in the home half of the frame from Chris Owings when he smacked a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left field.


Those were the final runs until the River Cats strung together a rally in the eighth, kicking things off with a double from Donovan Walton before he eventually scored on a David Villar single. That knock from Villar was the first of three consecutive two-out singles, which was followed by hits from both Sabol and Schmitt, the latter of which drove home Villar.

For Schmitt it was his 13th RBI in his past five games, which included three apiece in each of his past two games. Had Schmitt reached the three RBI tally again, it would have been the first time a River Cat drove in three or more runs in three consecutive games since Chris Carter did so from Aug. 21-23, 2011 when he did so against Tucson.


Sabol was the only River Cat on Wednesday to tally a multi-hit game, though Matos and Walton each produced a two-bagger with their lone knock. A couple of streaks came to an end in the contest, as this marked the first time in 15 games that Marco Luciano did not reach base safely, while Heliot Ramos saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end.

Charged with the loss was Whisenhunt, his second of the season after he yielded only two runs on three hits in 3.2 innings. Sacramento pitching was strong over the final innings and gave the offense a chance to complete the comeback, which started with Sean Hjelle hurling another scoreless frame in his third appearance on his rehab assignment with one hit allowed and two strikeouts.

Taking the baton for the final 3.0 innings was Clay Helvey, who surrendered just one hit and one walk while striking out three. It was Helvey’s longest outing since he also went 3.0 innings on Aug. 20, 2022 as a member of the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

Picking up the win for Oklahoma City was starter Nabil Crismatt (1-0), who allowed only the one run on four hits while striking out five.

Now level in the series, Sacramento will look to get back into the win column when the two teams line up for game three of the series at 5:05 p.m. (PT) on Thursday.

Chase Pinder trots around the bases after his solo home run in the second inning of Sacramento’s 4-3 loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. (Eddie Kelly/ProLook Photos)

Jake Ward
Author: Jake Ward