The Vancouver Canadians capped off a losing homestand with a 3-0 loss to the Eugene Emeralds at Nat Bailey Stadium Thursday. The C’s have dropped three in a row after taking the series opener against the defending Northwest League champions on Monday.
Eugene starter Zach Mort handcuffed the C’s to just two hits and a walk over six frames for the win. He got all the support he needed in the fifth on back-to-back doubles from Fernando Kelli and Jonathan Soto off C’s reliever Nicolas Medina. Soto’s drive went off the wall in right field. Jake Slaughter would single home Soto to provide Eugene with a two-run cushion.
Kelli would play a major role in the final run of the game in the ninth. It appeared the C’s battery of Josh Almonte and Brett Wright may have take exception to Kelli’s bunt attempts to start the frame. As a result, Kelli was plunked in the back with an Almonte pitch. Umpire Nick McFarland then issued a warning to both sides. The situation remained under control even though there was some yelling from both sides.
When the game resumed, Kelli got his revenge by stealing second and going to third on Wright’s errant throw into center. Kelli would cruise home on another Soto double for the third Emeralds run.
The Emeralds are now 4-3 after winning three in a row against the Canadians, who fall to 2-5.
Adam Kloffenstein put together 3-1/3 innings of shutout ball for the C’s. The Jays third-round pick of 2018 got a room-service double play on a hit-and-run in the first. Reivaj Garcia hit a ball to Tanner Morris who was covering the second base bag to start a 6-3 twin killing that deleted a Luis Vazquez single.
Kloffenstein overcame a walk in the second with an inning-ending strikeout before registering two more strikeouts in the third. Before ringing up Garcia, the Em’s second baseman hit a slow roller that went foul down the third base line. The 6-foot-5 Kloffenstein resembled a basketball player boxing out his man in the low post as he got in front of third baseman Ronny Brito to ensure the ball went foul. Kloffenstein did play basketball in high school at Magnolia, Texas.
Wright stole his first base as a professional by swiping second in the third inning. The former Auburn Tiger was the C’s first baserunner of the day by drawing a one-out walk. He picked a good pitch to go on as Mort’s delivery clocked in at 82 miles per hour.
The first Vancouver hit belonged to Luis De Los Santos as he lined a one-out double to right-center field in the fourth. Will Robertson nearly had an infield single but he was thrown out by Garcia by a half-step from shallow right field with Mort covering the bag. However, De Los Santos went way too far around the third base bag and he was tagged out on a 4-1-2 play to end the frame.
Vancouver tried to get something going in the fifth when Trevor Schwecke reached on an infield single to short but McGregory Contreras hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Brito was then robbed of a base hit on a diving catch by Kelli in center field to end the inning.
The seventh inning saw the C’s get two runners on against Em’s reliever Raidel Orta when De Los Santos singled with one out and Schwecke doubled with two out to get De Los Santos to third. Contreras would ground out to conclude the frame.
Brito would draw a walk to start the eighth and got to second on a Riley McCauley wild pitch but that was all the C’s would accomplish.
Vancouver would knock on the door again in the ninth when De Los Santos doubled with one out and Schwecke walked with two out but McCauley struck out the side by getting Morris, Robertson and Contreras to save it for Eugene.
Adrian Ramos made a nice running catch in left center field as he came a long way to retire Slaughter for the final out of the ninth.
The C’s hit the road for seven days beginning with a four-game series in Hillsboro. Sunday’s game begins at 4:05 pm with the others set for 7:05 pm. Rob Fai will have the call on CanadiansBaseball.com. The games can also been seen on MiLB.TV.
Radar Gun Rundown
Kloffenstein has strikeouts of 82 and 85 swinging, 79 looking and 89 swinging. He reached 91-94. Medina had a swinging K of 75 and ranged from 74-76 and 88-90 with an 81 in between. Adams Cuevas had a K of 77 looking and 78 and 77 swinging while clocking in at 75, 79, 82, 84 and 89. Almonte had whiffs of 93 swinging K, 84 looking, 94 swinging and 95 swinging. He also had offs-peed offerings of 84 and 89. Luke Gillingham had pitches of 74 and 82 in retiring the final hitter of the ninth.