The Vancouver Canadians came out on top in a battle of duelling Canadians on the mound. Burlington, Ontario’s Alex Nolan pitched five innings of relief to get the win as Vancouver got by Tri-City 2-1 at Nat Bailey Stadium Sunday. Taking the loss for Tri-City was Jake Sims from Guelph, Ontario.
Vancouver got on the board in the fifth when Ronny Brito led off with a single against Sims who had retired the side in order in the fourth. A wild pitch was the first indicator that things were going off the rails for Sims. The second was three consecutive walks to Dominic Abbadessa, Trevor Schwecke and Tanner Morris to bring in Brito with the game’s first run. Starlin Cordero entered the game for the Dust Devils and got Philip Clarke to ground out to second but that brought in Abbadessa to make it 2-0 Vancouver. Cordero got two more groundball outs from Luis De Los Santos and Will Robertson to strand Morris and Schwecke at second and third.
Tri-City cut the Vancouver lead in half in the sixth when a Brito throwing error from third allowed Jordy Barley to reach base. Barley went to second on a Kelvin Alarcon groundout and made it to third on a Nolan wild pitch. Matthew Acosta lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring Barley home.
The Dust Devils were looking to tie it in the seventh when Carlos Luis led off with a single. He was replaced by Reinaldo Ilarraza and he got into scoring position on a passed ball by Brett Wright. The turning point of the game came when Sean Guilbe lined one to short. Luis De Los Santos tried to double off Ilarraza at second but his throw sailed into foul territory down the first base side. Ilarraza rounded third and broke for home but the first baseman Schwecke alertly gathered the ball and threw to home where Wright tagged out Ilarraza. That proved to be huge when Jonny Homza singled up the middle on the next pitch but Nolan froze Alison Quintero with a called strike three to end the inning.
Nolan punctuated his five-inning outing with a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Luke Gillingham shipped out the Dust Devils by striking out two of the three men he faced, ringing up Ilarraza to end the game. That was the second save of the year for the Navy man.
Nick Fraze set the tone for Vancouver with three shutout innings at the start before giving way to Nolan.
Radar Gun Rundown
Fraze was at 81-84 and 86-90 miles per hour with a strikeout at 81. Nolan was 78-82 and 89-90 with a strikeout at 79. Gillingham measured in at 76 and 87.
Fraze gave up a single to center the second batter he faced in Alarcon but Wright threw him out easily trying to steal second. Robertson made a leaping catch of a liner to right by Acosta to end the first.
The other two hits Tri-City had against Fraze were singles up the middle to Jason Pineda and Luis to start the second but Brito started a 5-3 double play on a Guilbe ground ball and Fraze struck out Homza to leave Luis at second. Fraze would retire the side in order in the third.
Nolan had some traffic on the bases in the fourth when he walked his first batter in Alarcon and surrendered a two-out single to Luis but he whiffed Guilbe to end that threat. The former Brock Badger scattered three hits and a walk and struck out three over five innings.
Monty’s Mounties had a chance to score in the bottom of the first when Schwecke worked a leadoff walk against Ethan Elliott. Yorman Rodriguez followed with a single and both Schwecke and Rodriguez moved to third on a Clarke ground ball to first. From there, the C’s began to lose yardage. De Los Santos hit a ball to the mound that Elliott pounced on and managed to tag out Schwecke by running straight at him. So instead of runners at second and third, it was a first-and-second situation and Robertson would ground out to second for the third out. To borrow a football analogy, the C’s went from second-and-goal to third-and-long before having to punt.
Brito had a two-out base hit in the second that was left stranded. Rodriguez collected his second hit in as many as bats by beating out a grounder to third but he was forced out at second on an inning-ending double play. It appeared Rodriguez may have had a hamstring pull as he did some hard running to first before trying to break up the double play. The C’s leading hitter was replaced at first base by Schwecke and Morris took over for Schwecke at second in the top of the fourth.
Robertson also came up limping after trying to beat out a grounder to short but he was able to stay in the game.
Wright drew a one-out walk in the sixth but was retired on the front-end of a Brito ground ball double play. Schwecke drew a one-out walk and Clarke had a two-out free pass against Dan Dallas in the seventh but they would be left on base.
Robertson greeted Mason Fox with a single in the eighth and McGregory Contreras got aboard when Homza bobbled the ball at third. A wild pitch moved Robertson and Contreras 90 more feet but Robertson was thrown out at home by Barley after a grounder to short by Wright. Brito struck out and Abbadessa grounded out to snuff out that rally.
The C’s continue their series against the Dust Devils in a 7:05 pm start Monday at the Nat. Adam Kloffenstein is expected to toe the rubber for Vancouver. Nick Thwaits is the probable starter for Tai-City. Rob Fai is the definite play-by-play announcer on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball.com.
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