The Palm Springs POWER hit their first bump in the road Saturday night, falling to the Inland Valley Pirates 7-2 at Palm Springs Stadium.
The POWER (11-1, 3-1) saw the second best start to a season in franchise history end at 11-0. The team began the 2006 season 17-0.
The first five Pirate batters of the game recorded hits, scoring three runs and giving Inland Valley all the offense they would need the rest of the night.
The Pirates added runs in the second and third innings to build a 5-0 lead before the POWER answered.
With runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the third inning, Jared Theisen singled to score Brett Sullivan. When Pirates third baseman Anthony Virgen mishandled the ball Ryan Raslowsky came in to score to make it a 5-2 game.
That was as close as the POWER would get though, as Pirates starter Taylor Valentine and the bullpen managed to work out of several jams.
Palm Springs loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning, but reliever Cody Erraut entered and struck out the next two batters. The POWER put runners on second and third base with one out the next inning, but a double play ended the frame. Erraut pitched a perfect ninth inning to officially put an end to the POWER’s perfect start.
The silver lining in the loss was the revelation of reliever Mitch Bluman. The San Diego State left-hander made his POWER debut and struck out eight in four innings, allowing only one unearned run.
Valentine (1-0) earned the win with five strong innings, allowing just two runs on four hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three. Doug Finley (0-1) took the loss for Palm Springs. Finley lasted three innings, surrendering five runs on eight hits. Erraut earned his first save of the season with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.