The Vancouver Canadians came into Oregon trying to snap a seven-game losing streak but it stretched to eight games after a 6-3 loss in the opener to the Hillsoboro Hops Friday night.
It looked like the C’s were going to break out on top when Joshua Palacios began the game with a triple but he was later thrown out at home to end the first.
Instead, the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate got on the board first by scoring three times off Denis Diaz in the first and fourth. He wound up walking six men and allowing five hits with just two K’s. Nate Abel held the Hops down to two hits over four frames while whiffing three.
Javier Hernandez drove in the first run with a single to score a Nash Knight base rap. Deiferson Barreto ground-rule doubled home the final two runs in the ninth, scoring walks by J.B. Woodman and Christian Williams. Former UBC Thunderbird and Port Coquitlam, BC native Curtis Taylor was called in to get the game’s final out, retiring Hernandez on a fly ball.
The missus and I made the trip to Hillsboro for the second game of the series and despite leaving early enough, we still missed the first inning thanks to slow breakfast service and ungodly traffic between Seattle and Tacoma. I managed to take lots of photos (and I do mean lots, so get some popcorn!) but I don’t have any great observations about the game itself. I was distracted by all the great views and vantage points I could take photos from. I hope to get around to focusing more on Ron Tonkin Field in a future thread.
Andy Ravel got the call on the hill and the Kent State product set the tone on the mound early by facing just one batter over the minimum in three innings, striking out two to go along with three groundball outs. Mike Ellenbest followed with another three-inning stint and was just nicked for a run and a hit but struck out one to keep the Hops off the board.
Vancouver’s offence got going in the fourth when Christian Williams singled and Yeltsin Gudino pushed him to second by executing a sacrifice bunt. Walks by Cavan Biggio and Deiferson Barreto loaded the bases before Nash Knight delivered a two-run knock. An RBI groundout by Joshua Palacios capped off the three-run rally. J.B. Woodman had a ground-rule double in the sixth and would eventually score on a Williams ground ball double play to make it 4-0.
Zach Jackson pitched two shutout frames, inducing a ground ball double play to end the seventh to erase a single. He worked his way around a walk by whiffing two in the eighth. Griffin Glaude gave up a one-out hit in the ninth but finished things up to preserve the 4-0 victory. Ellenbest picked up his first professional win.
Vancouver looked to build on the momentum of Saturday’s win and got off to a good start with a three-run third. J.B. Woodman doubled in the first run and a base hit by Jacob Anderson and an error plated two more. Hillsboro would get two of those runs back against Luis Sanchez in their half of the third and despite five hits and five walks allowed, that was all the Hops managed against the Dominican, who rung up three.
The Canadians took a 4-2 lead when Biggio singled home another base hit by Woodman in the sixth but the Hops rallied for three runs on three hits and a HBP against Evan Smith to go ahead 5-4. Smith, who struck out one, was bailed out by the bats and wound up getting the W. Rodrigo Orozco tied it in the seventh with an RBI single to score a Williams walk and a passed ball on a Woodman walk allowed Gudino, who walked, to score the winning run.
On the way back from Portland, I managed to tune to the Hillsboro broadcast on Rip City Sports Radio 620 and the announcer was complementary about Gudino’s defence at short. Gudino’s toughness can also be lauded after he was hit by a pitch not once but twice.
Jackson McClelland pitched two perfect frames and Glaude got the save, his fourth, with a one-hit ninth as the C’s hung on for a 6-5 win. Right on Glaude!
With Sunday’s win, the C’s clinched the overall series against Hillsboro with their sixth victory in eight games. They looked for their seventh win against the two-time defending league champions Monday night.
Vancouver’s first two runs were scored on RBI groundouts by Jacob Anderson and Rodrigo Orozco in the first two innings. The C’s added two more runs in the third on a Cavan Biggio triple and a Javier Hernandez single. J.B. Woodman socked an opposite-field home run to left field in the fourth to give Vancouver a 5-1 advantage.
They didn’t score again until the ninth when Biggio singled home another run. Nash Knight had a 4-for-5 night at the plate while Palacios and Biggio had three apiece. Yeltsin Gudino was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Northwest League All-Star Patrick Murphy put together another good start. He overcame a first-inning run to last 5-2/3 innings, scattering seven hits and a walk. He rung up five batters and had nine of his 11 outs in play handled by his infielders. Gabe Noyalis stranded a runner for Murphy in the sixth but was knocked around for three runs on three hits in the seventh to make it a one-run game.
Biggio gave the C’s more breathing room in the ninth with a run-scoring single. The H-Man duo of Grayson Huffman and Nick Hartman took care of business in the last two innings. Huffman got through the eighth with just one walk and struck out one, like Noyalis. Hartman gave up a two-out hit but struck out one in the ninth for his first professional save to preserve a 6-4 victory and Murphy’s third win in which Murphy lowered his NWL-leading ERA to 2.48.
Nash Knight continued his hot hitting with a 4-for-5 day at the dish, giving him eight hits over 13 at-bats in the series. Biggio and Palacios had three hits apiece.
2016 Blue Jays 1st-round pick T.J. Zeuch was supposed to start the afternoon series finale Tuesday but Dalton Rodriguez got the call instead. Rodriguez was roughed up for three first-inning runs and five overall in 3-2/3 innings. He did not have it from the get-go as he began the game with a hit by pitch, a walk and a wild pitch. Geno Encina did an outstanding job in relief as the Encina Man tossed 4-1/3 shutout frames of one-hit, one-walk ball with four K’s and six groundouts.
A Josh Reavis sacrifice fly provided Vancouver’s first run but a baserunning error by Knight in the second killed the rally after he was doubled off on a fly ball out. Vancouver would get two more in the third on a D.J. McKnight RBI triple and a Palacios RBI groundout. The Canadians would tie it at 5-5 in the seventh on a two-out triple by Biggio but the son of Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio would be stranded as Knight struck out to end the threat.
Hopes that the C’s would walk out of Hillsboro with their fourth straight win were dashed when Jason Morzowski greeted Jackson McClelland with a walk-off homer in the ninth, giving Hillsboro a 6-5 victory.
The C’s three-game winning streak ended but Palacios extended his on-base streak to 20 games with a 2-for-5 day at the plate.
Vancouver remains in last place in the NWL North with a 7-12 record, six games behind Everett. They begin an eight-game homestand with the Spokane Indians coming to town for a three-game set before the Boise Hawks arrive for a five-game series Saturday. Friday’s series finale against Spokane and Sunday’s and Wednesday’s games against Boise begin at 1:05 p.m. All other games are at 7:05.