Another look back and look ahead on the Vancouver Canadians and their next opponent, the Hillsboro Hops. Next to their three-game sweep of Tri-City, Vancouver’s series against Hillsboro at home saw the C’s playing their best ball of the season. They are hoping history repeats itself over the next five days in Oregon.
With Blue Jays 1992 ace Jack Morris in the house, the C’s opened up this five-game set with a 4-2 victory over the two-time Northwest League champion Hillsboro Hops. The Diamondbacks affiliate scored first off Dalton Rodriguez in the second but the C’s responded with a two-run third that saw Cavan Biggio double in a run before Yelstin Gudino grounded home another. Jacob Anderson then went yard in the fourth with a homer before knocking home another run with a single in the sixth. The 2011 supplemental first round pick from Chino, California had a three-hit night while D.J. McKnight had a double and a run scored. J.B. Woodman was 0-for-4 but stole a base and scored in the sixth.
Rodriguez gave up two unearned runs over 5-2/3 innings but one of them was due to an errant pickoff throw by Rodriguez himself in the second. A Biggio error at second made the second run unearned in the seventh. Griffin Glaude, Nick Hartman and Jackson Lowery kept the Hops at bay by shutting them down over the final 2-1/3 innings.
The Hops jumped all over the C’s 12-2 to even the series at a game apiece. Deiferson Barreto booted the first ground ball of the game at short and it was all downhill from there. Juliandry Higuera only lasted 2-2/3 innings and was jolted for six runs (two earned) on five hits, two walks and a hit by pitch.
Dan Lietz stranded one of two runners for Higuera and pitched 2-1/3 innings of shutout ball. However, Gabe Noyalis was knocked around for three runs in 1-1/3 innings after Stuart Holmes could not strand any of his three runners. Holmes was harassed for three more runs over 1-2/3 innings. Matt Smoral finished up with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Jacob Anderson doubled home a two-out walk by Cavan Biggio for the C’s first run in the first. Anderson scored the second run when he was hit by a pitch and scored on a Bryan Lizardo base hit. Biggio and Andres Sotillo, in his first home start behind the plate, both had a hit and a walk. Burlington, Ontario native Mattingly Romanin was 0-for-3 in his home debut but did reach base by taking one for the team in the fourth.
The C’s took the series lead with a 3-2 victory June 25 thanks to six strong innings by Patrick Murphy, who conceded just four hits and struck out five. Evan Smith (0.2 IP) and The Jackson Two – Jackson McClelland (1.0 IP) and Jackson Lowery (1.0 IP) – supplied three innings of shutout relief. RBI singles by Christian Williams and Juan Tejada with two outs in the first gave the C’s a 2-0 lead and they tacked on one more in the second on a Yelstin Gudino sacrifice fly. Tejada had a three-hit night while Williams, Rodrigo Orozco and Javier Hernandez had two. Stolen bases were swiped by Tejada, Orozco and Lance Jones, who had a base hit.
The Canadians were able to clinch the series victory with a 5-1 victory over Hillsboro. The Hops scored first on a Manny Jefferson home run in the second off Luis Sanchez but that was the only run Sanchez surrendered over in three innings. Vancouver tied the game when Mattingly Romanin drew a walk and scored on a wild pitch. The C’s would take the lead for good in the fourth on a Deiferson Barreto RBI double and a Lance Jones two-run single in the fourth. A Yeltsin Gudino RBI fielder’s choice accounted for the final run in the sixth.
Barreto had the lone two-hit game and Romanin had a single, two walks and two runs scored. Lance Jones had a base hit, a base on balls and a base stolen.
Andy Ravel got the victory with three shutout innings of relief and Mike Ellenbest got the three-inning save. Ravel tossed a one-hitter and struck out a batter. Ellenbest had two K’s and six groundball outs.
The C’s wrapped up the series with their third straight victory by blanking Hillsboro 3-0. Justin Maese dominated with seven shutout innings of five-hit ball, striking out four and walking nobody. He set down eight in a row and induced a whopping 13 groundball outs. Maese’s pitches were in the 87-94 MPH range. Grayson Huffman and Jackson Lowery locked it down with shutout frames in the eighth and ninth.
A Deiferson Barreto sac fly and a Jacob Anderson single put Vancouver ahead for good in the third before Gabe Clark parked one into the left field porch in the fourth. Anderson had a couple of hits and Clark drew a walk to get aboard twice as did Cavan Biggio and Rodrigo Orozco, who singled and walked.
The game featured the son of former Blue Jay Turner Ward in Hops pitcher T.J. Ward, who was called upon to get the final out of the eighth in relef.
The C’s head down to Hillsboro for a five-game set that begins Friday and concludes Tuesday. Friday’s and Monday’s games are at 7:05 pm, Saturday’s is set for 5:03 pm, Sunday’s and Tuesday’s match-ups start at 1:05 pm. You can hear the games at CanadiansBaseball.com or you can watch them if you subscribe to MiLB.TV. Denis Diaz is slated to get the call for the C’s in the series opener.
Hillsboro is 9-5 in the second half, good for a share of first place in the NWL South Division with first-half winner Eugene.