The Vancouver Canadians and the Spokane Indians had just two hits apiece but the C’s got the game’s only run to escape with a 1-0 victory at Avista Stadium Thursday.
That run came in the top of the third when Cameron Eden got on base after a fielding error by Spokane shortstop Jake Hoover to begin the frame. Eden stole second base and would score on a Dom Abbadessa base hit up the middle off Joshua Javier. Abbadessa was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double.
Adam Kloffenstein struck out eight over five shutout innings and retired the side in order in the first, third and fifth innings. He got out of a second-and-third, two-out jam in the second when Jonah McReynolds and Obie Ricumstrict singled. The two runners moved up on a wild pitch but Kloffenstein rung up Hoover to end the threat.
The other Spokane baserunner against Kloffenstein came on a two-out walk by Hoover in the fifth. Hoover stole second but he did not swipe third as Philip Clarke threw him out to conclude the fifth.
Spokane threatened again in the sixth against Nicolas Medina. After throwing out Starling Joseph, Medina walked Alexander Ovalles and Kenen Irizarry before inducing a pop-up to third by Cristian Inoa. Medina was a strike away from getting out of the inning but he walked David Garcia to load the bases. Hometown boy Gage Burland from nearby Otis Orchards, Washington left the bags loaded by striking out McReynolds on a 3-2 pitch.
Burland had to get out a sticky situation on his own in the seventh when he issued four-pitch walks to Francisco Ventura and Joseph but he got Ovalles to fly out to left to strand those runners.
Grayson Huffman struck out two in a perfect eighth and began the ninth with a whiff before walking Ventura with one out in the ninth. Huffman stranded pinch-runner Derwin Barreto by striking out Ricumstrict and getting Hoover to fly out to right to get the save.
The Canadians had their chances to add more runs on the scoreboard. Trevor Schwecke began the game with a walk but was forced out on a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Jesus Lopez. Schwecke also drew a two-out walk in the third and got to second on a wild pitch by Javier but he would be stranded.
A Clarke leadoff walk in the fourth from Javier and an Eden single off Nic Laio to start the fifth that was bunted over to second by Abbadessa also led nowhere for the C’s.
Eden reached base again on another error in the seventh by Hoover with two outs but Daniel Robert kept Vancouver at bay. Werner Leal worked two shutout innings for Spokane with a two-out walk to McGregory Contreras being his only misstep. He faced the minimum six batters by getting Ronny Brito to ground out into a 6-3 inning-ending double play.
The rubber match of this series goes Friday night at 6:30 pm. Zak Kent will throw the first pitch for Spokane. Alex Nolan is scheduled to do the same for Vancouver. Rob Fai will have the play-by-play on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball.com.