The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes shovelled more dirt on the Vancouver Canadians 2019 playoff hopes. The Volcanoes held off the C’s 5-3 at Nat Bailey Stadium Saturday night. Vancouver remains four games back of Tri-City with seven games left in the season.
The Volcanoes scored first in the fourth inning. Harrison Freed lined a one-out double off the right fall with one out against Juan Diaz. Tyler Flores extended the inning with a two-out walk before Beicker Mendoza dropped a single to right that Will Robertson misplayed and the ball would skip behind him. Freed scored on the play but Robertson was able to chase down the ball and start a 9-4-2 play to nail Flores at the plate for the third out.
Salem-Keizer would bat around in the fifth to increase their lead to 5-0. Consecutive singles to right field by Chris Corbett, Tyler Wyatt and Alexander Canario scored Corbett and Wyatt. In between was another fielding error by Robertson that allowed Wyatt to get to third. Carter Aldrete would reach on another error after a hot smash handcuffed Tanner Morris at short and that moved Canario to third. Canario and Aldrete would score on an Armani Smith triple to right to chase Diaz from the game. Nicolas Medina would hold down the Volcanoes for the next three innings and Parker Caracci did the same for the final two.
After being kept off the board by Norwith Gudino for the first five five innings and Ben Madison for the next three, Vancouver finally scored in the ninth against Andy Rohloff. The rally began when Rohloff plunked Jesus Lopez. Brett Wright kept the game going with a two-out, ground-rule double to left that bounced into the Canadians bullpen to put runners at second and third. Rohloff walked Luis De Los Santos and Adrian Ramos on eight pitches to plate Lopez with Vancouver’s first run. Israel Cruz took over for Rohloff and the first pitch he threw was smashed up the middle by Morris to score Wright and De Los Santos to draw the C’s to within two. De Los Santos ran through the stop sign at third but was still able to make it easily. The second pitch by Cruz produced the final out as Philip Clarke flied out to right.
Radar Gun Rundown
Diaz threw pitches at 72-76, 79-83, 86-91 and 94 miles per hour with strikeouts at 83, 88 and 73. Medina was at 74, 76, 77, 80-83 and 88-90 with strikeouts at 89, 74, 82 and 80. Caracci checked in at 78, 82, 83, 84, 86, 88-95 strikeouts at 83 and 92.
The C’s made four errors on the night. The first one came on the first pitch of the game when Lopez was off the mark with a throw from third that pulled Wright off the bat. That allowed Canario to reach base but Diaz retired the next three hitters to get out of the first.
Philip Clarke had Vancouver’s first hit with a one-out single in the first inning but Spencer Horwitz—making his Northwest League debut as the designated hitter—into a 6-3 double play.
Lopez led off the second inning with a single to left that just eluded a diving Aldrete at short. Robertson lined out to second and that almost resulted in Lopez getting doubled off at first. He would later be forced out at second on a Cameron Eden fielder’s choice in a scoreless second for the home side.
Two bang-bang plays at first inning highlighted the top of the third. Canario beat out an infield single to short that led to runners on the corners with one out but the C’s got the next call at first base to go their way when Aldrete rapped into a 5-4-3 double play.
The bottom of the third saw Ramos get on base with a one-out walk and he reached second on an errant pick-off throw by Gudino but that was as far as Ramos would get.
Vancouver tried to stage a two-out rally in the fourth on singles by Robertson and Eden whose hard smash was knocked down at second by Wyatt but a Wright fly ball to right ended that threat.
Morris made the defensive play of the night when he dove to his right to snare a liner from Canario to rob the Volcanoes leadoff man of a hit.
Vancouver’s defensive woes would resume in the seventh when Harrison Freed’s pop fly to shallow second was missed by De Los Santos.
The fastest pitch of the night was thrown by Madison as he reached 100 miles per hour on the Nat Bailey Stadium radar gun.
Robertson had two hits for Vancouver but Ramos was the on-base leader with three walks and an RBI. Lopez reached twice with a hit and a hit by pitch.
As noted earlier, Horwitz made his C’s debut. The left-handed hitting first baseman was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 24th round of this year’s from Radford. The 21 year-old from Timonium, Maryland batted .330/.395/.471 with Bluefield this season. He is wearing #13.
Also joining the club from Bluefield is catcher Ryan Sloniger. The former Penn State backstop had a 1.031 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with Bluefield. The 22 year-old left-handed hitter spent time earlier with the C’s where he batted .280 with a home run in seven games. After wearing #40, Sloniger has taken over #12.
The Canadians send Nick Fraze to the mound in the third game of their four-game set against Salem-Keizer. First pitch is at 1:05 pm. The game can be heard on CanadiansBaseball.com.