C’s Chat – Sean Wymer

Vancouver Canadians Sean WymerSean Wymer collected his first professional victory against Spokane at Nat Bailey Stadium July 8.


2018 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Sean Wymer stops in for the latest instalment of C’s Chat.

The Toronto Blue Jays took Wymer in the fourth round of the 2018 draft from the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. Gerald Turner was the signing scout for the 21 year-old from Flower Mound, Texas.

Wymer was happy to be drafted but he wished he was still playing baseball at the time.

“It was awesome. It’s not good that we were home because we were out of the postseason at TCU but I got to experience it with my family watching the live stream on MLB.com. It was good to experience that. My brother flew in from New York, It was a good experience just kind of being able to be with the family in that special moment definitely. I was real excited to get out here and get going.

“I didn’t have any specific team in mind that I thought was going to draft me. It just kind of came down to like two, three picks before. My advisor, my agent now, texted me and said ‘Hey, the Blue Jays are going to take you here.’ I had no prior knowledge, I had no idea who was going to take me.”

2017 College World Series

Wymer was an ace reliever with the Horned Frogs who made it to Omaha for the College World Series. His biggest moment came against Louisville when he delivered 4-1/3 shutout innings to close out a win against Louisville in an elimination game. Wymer struck out Brendan McKay—the fourth pick of the 2017 MLB draft by Tampa Bay—in the fifth and eighth innings over 4-1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win.

“That was amazing. It was probably one of the coolest baseball experiences I’ve had in my life definitely going to the College World Series. Just being at TCU was awesome. The coaches were awesome. I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me enabling me to get here.

The pitching coach there (former major leaguer Kirk Saarloos) was a huge influence in my baseball career. He kind of tweaked some mechanical things with me after my freshman year that kind of got me on pace to where I am now. That was a great experience there, great school.

I didn’t get to finish my degree getting drafted as a junior but I’m looking to do that after baseball is over. I’m a Computer Science major so I got one more year left.”

It was performances like those that earned Wymer a spot on the 2017 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He also earned Second-Team All-Big 12 Conference and First-Team Academic All-Big 12 honours.

Vancouver Canadians Sean Wymer

Sean Wymer pitched 75 innings for TCU before logging 35-1/3 frames with Vancouver in 2018.


Pitching at TCU

Wymer says TCU’s success during his time there could be attributed in part to its detail to mental preparation.

“I think the biggest thing we do as a team is just kind of practicing the mental side of the game. We had a mental performance coach Brian Cain and he was a huge influence on all of us. That was the first thing they do when you get on campus is you got to buy into this – how we do things here.

The mental side of the game, understanding your routines, your (breathing) and all that to kind of slow the game down and just be comfortable out there while you’re playing. I think that was the biggest thing that helped us get there.

I definitely wouldn’t say every time you’re out on the field, you’re not always the most talented team but it’s the team that plays the best who wins. Being prepared mentally is a huge advantage.”

Of Wymer’s 46 appearances with the Horned Frogs over his first two seasons, all but two came out of the bullpen. This season saw him make 10 starts out of his 15 appearances. Wymer says he doesn’t have a preference starting or relieving.

“Either is fine. This junior year was my first year starting so getting used to starting took a couple of starts. It’s a whole different routine. Instead of going through the team stretch and BP and all that, you’re sitting there in the locker room just thinking about your start. It’s kind of a different animal mentally but I’m kind of getting used to that throughout my junior year. Now I’m good with either role.”

MLB.com considers Wymer to be a four-pitch pitcher but he says it’s really three pitches he has in his repertoire.

“It’s definitely a three-pitch (repertoire) – it’s fastball, curveball, changeup. I have seen the four-pitch mix and all that with the curveball-slider but I just throw one curveball. I think it breaks differently depending on the count. If it’s a two-strike curveball, it’s going to be more down. They might see the ‘not-two-strike’ curveball as more of a silder but I just call it one pitch. So fastball, curveball, changeup.”

Wymer says his fastball is a four-seamer that can reach 95 miles an hour during shorter stints but he does not concern himself with radar gun readings.

“I hold it as a four-seam. It’s got a little sink to it on a good day. It plays as a normal fastball if it’s not sinking. It’s just a four-seam fastball. I usually don’t pay attention to (the radar gun). I let the hitter tell me how the fastball is playing. I could be throwing 91, 92 (miles per hour) and they’re swinging through it and if I look back and see 91, 92, I’m not going to try and ramp it up if it’s working. It’s kind of just play it and seeing how the hitters react to it.”

Having a three-pitch is always good if you can command all three and keep the hitters off balance. I think that’s my biggest strength is when I command all three pitches, it’s a lot easier to throw. The fastball-curveball is my main two pitches out of the pen. It’s just kind of whatever is playing that day.”

Wymer says he is trying to get back on track in 2018 after an early-season injury with TCU.

“This year, just trying to get back into sync of how I was a year ago. I had an injury at the beginning of this season in college. It kind of derailed me a little bit and I had to get back on track. Now I’m feeling the best I’ve felt this year so I’m just trying to get everything back in sync.

It was a lower back injury. It kind of messed with some things mechanically and it got me into some bad habits and now I’ve kind of worked myself out of those so now it’s kind of a stepping stone I’m ready to get back to where I was.”

Wymer has been recognized as a pitcher to watch in the Toronto Blue Jays system as he was ranked as the team’s 26th best prospect according to MLB.com in late July. Wymer was happy to find his name on that list.

“It was awesome. I was working out in Everett and it was updated and someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, congratulations!’ I was like, ‘For what?’ ‘You got in the top 30 prospects!’ I was like, ‘Oh!’ It’s cool. It’s nice being on there.”

Vancouver Canadians Sean Wymer

Sean Wymer won three of four decisions with a 3.57 ERA for Vancouver during the month of July.


Pitching In Vancouver

Wymer says the biggest difference from college to the pro game is pitch calling.

“It’s a little different coming from college because in college, the pitching coach is calling your pitches and all that so you really don’t have control of it. He doesn’t like when you shake (him off) and all that but now getting here and getting comfortable with calling your own pitches was kind of a little shift that I had to make. It’s not terrible just because I know what I throw in certain counts. I know my strengths and all that stuff. It hasn’t been too big of a difference.”

Wymer says he really enjoyed pitching at Nat Bailey Stadium.

“It’s awesome. The crowd’s electric. It’s amazing because even at TCU, our most-packed games were like 4,000 (fans). Here with 6,000, they’re loud with every pitch. It’s awesome.”

Wymer has been in pitching in tandem with fellow righthander Joey Murray with the C’s and says the partnership has been a good one.

“We talk to each other a lot about like what were going through routine-wise. How we’re throwing before each game, when we’re going to long toss, when we’re going to take it easy when we work out on the same day and all that. It’s been good to go through and kind of bounce ideas off of each other and getting inside our routines.”

Wymer believes his routine gives him a plan of attack when he takes the mound every sixth day.

“I think just like knowing what I’m going to do each day. I mean I have specific details but the main kind of blueprint is like I’m pitching this day and then you do your lift the next day. You do your lift the next day and you have the side (throwing session). It’s kind of like having that routine of that sixth day rotation has made it a lot easier to adjust.”

Wymer says he has benefited from the tutelage of C’s pitching coach Jim Czajkowski.

“The first time we threw. He said, ‘I’m not going to tell you anything. I just want to watch you.’ He watches for about two weeks and kind of got a feel for how we throw and how we pitch and kind of what we did like routine-wise and he’s helped with that too in telling us like, ‘Hey, you just need to take it a little easier here. You don’t need to throw as much here,’ because in pro ball, you’re throwing every day. If you need an off-day, you take an off-day.

He’ll give up little tips like if he thinks something could possibly get you injured, just mechanically, he’ll mention it and you can work on it. He’s definitely not trying to make huge mechanical changes. He’s kind of letting us do our own thing.”

Wymer says his goals for the future include continuing to refine his routine.

“Just kind of getting into a routine of things. How I’m going to go about myself each day in pro ball and getting on the six-day rotation and then probably in the next year be a five-day (pitcher) in the higher levels. Just understand the pro ball philosophy and how you do things and all that.”

Wymer completed his first season in the professional ranks with a 4-3 record and a 4.84 earned run average that covered 13 appearances, seven of them starts. In 35-1/3 innings, he struck out 34 and walked seven with a WHIP (walks-hits-innings-pitched) of 1.19.

His most successful appearance came against Spokane July 8 when he spun three shutout frames of one-hit ball against Spokane July 8. His most dominant outing came against Boise August 27 when he struck out seven batters over three innings of two-hit balls. However, one of the hits was a solo home run and that resulted in a hard-luck loss. Wymer would whiff five more in another three-inning stint during the regular season finale in Spokane September 3.

My thanks to Sean Wymer for the latest edition of C’s Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @seanwymer26. Special thanks again to Media Relations Assistant Sharlene Canning for arranging the interview.

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C’s Chat – Vinny Capra

Vancouver Canadians Vinny Capra

Vinny Capra made a combined 61 starts at short between Vancouver and Lansing in 2018.


The latest guest on C’s Chat is 2018 Lansing Lugnuts and 2018 Vancouver Canadians shortstop Vinny Capra.

The 22 year-old Melbourne, Florida native was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 20th round of this year’s draft from the University of Richmond.

“I was watching the draft with my parents and we were really excited about where I’m going to go so it was obviously a surprise when I got the call. We were very excited, I got up and hugged my parents and the next step of my career is now with the Blue Jays.I was real excited with that. It was awesome. There was nothing better than seeing your name getting called and especially by the Blue Jays. What a great organization to be with. It’s really a great start to what my baseball career is going to be.

The Blue Jays were in contact but I had a couple of other teams who were talking to me but I didn’t really know exactly which team I was going to. When the Blue Jays called, I was like, ‘Yeah, definitely. Take me.’ Doug Witt was my area scout. He did a great job with helping me out and giving me all the directions I need to once I got drafted.”

College Years & Summer Ball

Capra played for the Richmond Spiders during his junior and seasons seasons. He showed his gritty style of play by reaching base five times without a hit in the first two games of the season. With the Spiders, Capra batted .335 with an OPS of . 870 during his two years in Virginia. Those numbers helped him earn Atlantic 10 Second Team honours in 2017 and 2018. Capra says he enjoyed his time in the state of Virginia.

“I loved it. The baseball up there was great. The weather was great most of the time. A little bit of snow which was not too bad, I got around that. There was some cold games which prepared for anything. Playing here in Vancouver, we got great weather also. It’s hot but it’s not humid. Playing in Richmond, it was a great experience for me and I loved it.”

Capra transferred to Richmond after playing at two seasons at the junior college level with Eastern Florida State.  He was named to the FCSAA Southern Conference Second Team in 2015 before earning First Team honours in 2016. One thing Capra noticed about junior college was the amount of roster turnover that took place.

“The biggest difference was the team quality of baseball. Junior college, you have two years so you got guys coming in and out every time. Once I got to a four-year school, there were more developed relationships with the team or chemistry involved so that was a little bit of a change. Junior college ball was also a great step for me before going to a four-year college.”

Before coming to Vancouver, Capra got a taste of the everyday grind of baseball by spending the summer of 2017 with the Walla Walla Sweets of the West Coast League. It also introduced him to playing baseball in British Columbia.

“That was actually my first summer ball experience so I have nothing to compare it to but it was a lot of fun coming out to the west coast, the complete opposite side of the country I’ve never been on.It was a great experience like besides baseball, to experience a lot of different places playing in Oregon and even coming up to Kelowna and Victoria and Canada. That was just a great experience. It kind of prepared me getting through the border process and everything so I’m already used to that.”

Something else Capra was introduced to with Walla Walla was dealing with customs officials at the U.S./Canada border.

“They usually do a pretty good job at getting us in. They obviously have to take their own measures in letting us in but they usually do a pretty good job with us and get us through there quick because sometimes it’s really early in the morning. All of us are tired strolling off the bus just after a long road trip but they understand. They help us out a lot all they can.”

High School Years

Before college, Capra helped lead Melbourne Central Catholic to the 2013 Florida 3A State Championship. Also on the team was his twin brother Nick and his older brother John.

“I transferred to Melbourne Central Catholic my junior year so that was the first year we won state. I remember thinking we had these guys that just brought us right in, me and my brothers, we were accepted real quick and we just had great team chemistry and that kind of took us to where we needed to go.”

Capra says having two brothers on the same team kept him on his toes.

“We always pushed for each other to get better but we also competed against each other as brothers would. If one person is doing better than the other, you’re always pushing for him to get back up and pull him from where he’s at and vice versa. You’re alway pushing and pulling each other to get better everyday.”

Capra says his senior year at high school saw him change middle infield positions.

“I was actually a second baseman in high school and I switched to shortstop in my senior year and from then on out, I’ve been playing shortstop.

The coaches I’ve had have been great along the way. My high school coach was great at getting me to have the right footwork to be at shortstop, transferring from second base. Once I was good enough to get to junior college, he helped me out with the footwork and it’s always been about the footwork over there at shortstop. That’s the key for your rhythm and to be able to complete plays at a consistent level.”

Capra says a former Blue Jay was one of the coaches who helped him develop as a shortstop.

Tom Dooley was the first (coach) to get me to play shortstop and he helped me out with learning the position and everything that went along with it. (Blue Jays 2003 pitcher) Jeff Tam was my junior college coach and he helped me kind of smooth out any kinks to really get me where I need to be an elite shortstop.”

Vancouver Canadians Vinny Capra

Vinny Capra had 84 assists and helped turn 13 double plays for Vancouver in 2018.


Playing Short

Capra believes he has been able to make the necessary adjustments playing at the six-spot at the pro level.

“The transition’s pretty easy. It’s kind of the same game from all the way up and fielding position-wise. You get maybe some harder balls hit at you but other than that, you’re doing the same thing. You’re trying to keep your rhythm and just be a consistent fielder.

I’d say my forehand is my best quality. I’m much better at going to my left so that leaves my backhand as probably what I have to work on mostly.”

Capra has had a number of different partners at second base in Vancouver as Nick Podkul, Sterling Guzman and Brandon Polizzi have spent time at the keystone. He admits it can be a challenge at times.

“Yeah, but you take ground balls with them during practice so you understand how each one, the pace of each player’s work. When you’re throwing out there. you try and play at the same level, the same pace, the same chemistry and you get to know them a lot better when you’re playing every day with them.”

One aspect Capra likes about at Nat Bailey Stadium is getting to play on natural grass again.

“In college, I played on a turf field (Malcolm U. Pitt Field in Richmond) so we went to a lot of other turf fields and you get a feel for how each one plays. Going to Everett and Eugene, both of those (fields) were pretty similar to some of the other places I’ve played so it was pretty easy to adjust on that.

I like playing natural grass. I like playing on the dirt of the grass field. It just feels more natural and right for the game.”

Vancouver Canadians Vinny Capra

Vinny Capra had a line drive rate of nearly 28 percent with Vancouver and Lansing in 2018 according to FanGraphs.


Playing In Vancouver

Capra says he enjoyed his role of being the mostly-everyday shortstop with Vancouver.

“I’ve loved it. I can’t ask for anything more to be mostly starting every game here and batting in the top of the order and get things going for the team. I love getting things going and everybody following suit. It kind of gets the team rolling early when you get on base early. It doesn’t matter how you get on base but once you get on base, your team starts rolling early in the games.

Playing at Nat Bailey Stadium is just awesome. The fans get behind you for everything. If you make a mistake, they’re picking you up from the stands like, ‘It’s alright. You’re doing fine.’ They just help support you and they just want to see you get better.”

The 5-foot-8 Capra says he tries to get underneath the skin of opposing teams with his unrelenting play.

“I’d be the player that’s annoying the other team, trying to get on base, steal bags, making all the plays that normally wouldn’t be made. Kind of the annoying player on the opposing team that you’re just like, ‘Man, he does everything. He gets everything. He hits everything. Just keeps hitting balls in play.”

Capra batted just .125 in his first eight games as a professional but he got on base at least once by a hit or a walk in his first 20 games.

Capra hit his first professional home run in Spokane June 24 and picked up his second against Hillsboro July 19.  Capra was promoted to the Lansing Lugnuts August 3. Capra had an on-base percentage of .344 with two home runs and 18 runs batted in and eight stolen bases in 10 tries with Vancouver at the time of his call-up.

Capra saw his batting average jump 31 points after joining Lansing as he hit .266 in his 25-game trial. He enjoyed his first three-hit night with the Lugnuts August 25 and that was part of a seven-game hit streak.

Capra got the starting assignment for both of Lansing’s playoff games where he went 2-for-7 but the Lugnuts were swept by the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

As far as what 2019 holds, Capra may very well return to Lansing for his first extended taste of full-season ball.

My thanks to Vinny Capra for taking part in the latest episode of C’s Chat and to Media Relations Assistant Sharlene Canning for arranging the interview.

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C’s Alumni Update – Former Vancouver Canadians Provide Boost To New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2018 Eastern League Championship

josh_palacios_up_close

Josh Palacios was one of the many former Vancouver Canadians who helped the New Hampshire Fisher Cats win the Eastern League championship in 2018.


The New Hampshire Fisher Cats received a big contribution from the Vancouver Canadians in winning the 2018 Eastern League championship. A total of 36 former C’s including position players, pitchers and coaches helped the Fisher Cats cap off a 6-0 run through the post-season. The Fisher Cats finished off the Akron RubberDucks with an 8-5 win in Game 3 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The unique aspect of the C’s connection to the New Hampshire title is that at least one player from each of its eight seasons of the C’s affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays appeared in a Fisher Cats uniform.

Position Players (12)

  • Jon Berti (2011)
  • Cavan Biggio (2016)
  • Jonathan Davis (2014)
  • Andrew Guillotte (2015) *
  • Gunnar Heidt (2014-2015)
  • Ryan Hissey (2015) *
  • Juan Kelly (2015)
  • Nash Knight (2016) *
  • Josh Palacios (2016)
  • Connor Panas (2015)
  • Max Pentecost (2014)
  • Dalton Pompey (2012)
    • also pitched

jon_harris

Jon Harris won 12 games in the regular season before getting the victory in Game 2 of the Eastern League final for New Hampshire.


Pitchers (22)

  • Jordan Barrett (2018)
  • Travis Bergen (2015-2017)
  • Brayden Bouchey (2017)
  • Andrew Case (2014-2015)
  • Josh DeGraaf (2015)
  • Justin Dillon (2017)
  • Jose Fernandez (2014)
  • Conor Fisk (2015)
  • Jon Harris (2015)
  • Nick Hartman (2016)
  • Zach Jackson (2016)
  • Jackson McClelland (2015-2016)
  • Patrick Murphy (2016)
  • Randy Pondler (2018)
  • Sean Reid-Foley (2014)
  • Francisco Rios (2015)
  • Dalton Rodriguez (2016-2018)
  • Aaron Sanchez (2011)
  • Tayler Saucedo (2015)
  • Justin Shafer (2014)
  • Danny Young (2015)
  • T.J. Zeuch (2016)

john_schneider

John Schneider skippered New Hampshire to its first championship season since 2011.


Manager/Coaching Staff

  • John Schneider – Manager (2011, 2014-2015)
  • Andy Fermin – Position Coach (2013)

Jon Berti led the way offensively in the clincher for New Hampshire FC. He had a two-run single in the fourth which included the game-winning RBI as part of a three-hit night. Berti also scored two runs and stole a base while hitting .308 in the championship. Josh Palacios was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in the second inning and hit .333 in the three-game set.  Cavan Biggio socked a home run in the seventh for an insurance run.

Danny Young earned the victory with two innings of one-run relief while striking out two. Travis Bergen gave up a run but recorded the final three outs to set off the celebration in Manchester.

jordan_barrett_pregame

Jordan Barrett was one of three members of this year’s Vancouver Canadians to make an appearance with New Hampshire in 2018.

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C’s Alumni Update – Harris & Berti Put Fisher Cats One Win Away From Eastern League Title

jon_harris_bullpen

Jon Harris delivered a solid 6-1/3 innings to help New Hampshire defeat Akron Wednesday.


cs_alumni_update_new_logoThe New Hampshire Fisher Cats are heading home with a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern League final. The Fisher Cats knocked off the Akron RubberDucks 6-1 in Game 2 at Canal Park Wednesday night.

The RubberDucks responded first with a run in the first inning when Tyler Krieger lifted a sacrifice fly that scored an Ernie Clement leadoff double off 2015 Vancouver Canadians righthander Jon Harris.

The Fisher Cats fought back with three runs in the third inning. Gunnar Heidt (2014-2015) and Forrest Wall singled off Kyle Dowdy with Heidt going first to third and Wall advancing to second on the throw from center field. Jon Berti (2011) singled up the middle to plate Heidt and Wall to put New Hampshire ahead.

Berti would eventually score on an RBI groundout from Cavan Biggio (2016). A Josh Palacios (2016) fielder’s choice scored a Harold Ramirez walk in the sixth off Dowdy to make it 4-1 New Hampshire. Two more runs came in the eighth on a Santiago Espinal single to scored a Biggio walk  before Palacios scored on a wild pitch by Argenis Argulo. Heidt, Wall and Bo Bichette led the Fisher Cats with two hits apiece. Biggio and Palacios had a hit and a walk. Connor Panas (2015) took one for the team after Ramirez was ejected from the game in the seventh.

Harris limited Akron to one run on five hits over 6-1/3 innings. The 2015 first rounder struck out seven with a groundout toal of six. Jackson McClelland (2015-2016) gave up a hit but struck out one. Kyle Snead got the next four outs before Corey Copping struck out the side in the ninth. The four Fisher Cats hurlers posted a strikeout-walk ratio of
11-0.

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  • Congratulations to Jonathan Davis for getting his first major league hit off David Price Wednesday.
  • Happy 26th birthday to Gunnar HeidtJ
  • Jays starter and former C’s lefthander Ryan Borucki (2014-2015) is a fan favourite of a Canadian wrestling legend.
  • The Eugene Emeralds are the 2018 Northwest League champions.
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C’s Alumni Update – Zeuch, Young, Palacios & Pentecost Help Fisher Cats Down RubberDucks In Eastern League Finals Opener

Vancouver Canadians Travis Bergen

Travis Bergen notched the save for New Hampshire in the opener of the Eastern League final Tuesday.


cs_alumni_update_new_logoThe New Hampshire Fisher Cats are two wins away from winning the Eastern League final after defeating the Akron RubberDucks 3-1 in 10 innings Tuesday at Canal Park.

2016 Vancouver Canadians righthander T.J. Zeuch got the starting assignment and was zinged for a run in the first inning when he walked a pair of hitters with one out before Nellie Rodriguez had an RBI single. Zeuch then got a double play ball to limit the damage.

The Fisher Cats looked like they were going to score first against rehabbing big leaguer Cody Anderson in the first.

The Fisher Cats were turned away by Jake Paulson in the first but tied it thanks to the efforts of two 2016 Canadians. Cavan Biggio reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second base and eventually came home on a Josh Palacios base hit up the middle against Paulson.

 

andrew_guillotte_waist_up

Andrew Guillotte scored the winning run in Game 1 for New Hampshire.


New Hampshire broke the tie in the 10th when 2014 C’s catcher Max Pentecost drew a leadoff walk against Jordan Milbrath. A sacrifice bunt by Palacios and a single by Santiago Espinal got Pentecost over to third. Andrew Guillotte entered the game to pinch-run for Pentecost. After Espinal stole second base, 2014-2015 C’s infielder Gunnar Heidt was given an intentional pass to load the bases. Forrest Wall stepped up and slapped a single to right field to score Guillotte and Espinal to give the Fisher Cats a two-run lead.

2015-2017 C’s lefthander Travis Bergen made sure there was no Akron comeback as he struck out the first two hitters enroute to a perfect inning to record the save.

Bergen’s work wrapped up four shutout innings by the bullpen. Four of those outs were supplied by 2015 C’s southpaw Danny Young. He got a double play ball in the seventh to survive a pair of singles.

Young left a walk in the eighth for Dusty Isaacs and Kirby Snead to deal with. That duo got the final two outs of the frame. Snead would get the win.

Zeuch gave up four hits and four walks over six inning but it only led to one run thanks to four strikeouts and six groundouts, four of them coming on double play balls.

2011 Vancouver infielder Jon Berti walked in five trips to the plate and stole a base. Biggio, Pentecost and Heidt also drew bases on balls.

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