The Vancouver Canadians have their second victory of 2021 after a 4-2 triumph over the Tri-City Dust Devils at Gesa Stadium Saturday.
The C’s got to work against Tri-City starter Hector Yan in the top of the first inning by loading the bases with one out on a Tanner Morris walk, a Cameron Eden single to left and a free pass to Philip Clarke. Ronny Brito‘s fly ball to shallow center was not deep enough to Morris but Ryan Gold bailed out Brito by pulling a two-out, two-run single to right to score Morris and Eden.
Troy Watson got the start for Vancouver and the Gunter, Texas native had to deal with a one-out throwing error by Eden at third that allowed Brendon Davis to reach second base. Watson struck out Francisco Del Valle swinging before Eden redeemed himself by throwing out Adrian Rondon for the third out.
Eden would return to his normal home in center field in the bottom of the second. Tanner Kirwer—who was originally in the eight-spot—went to left field and Rafael Lantigua moved from left field to handle the hot corner for Eden.
The top of the third inning saw Eden bunt his way aboard and stealing stole second base. Ronny Brito drew a one-out walk but the inning appeared to be over when L.J. Talley lifted a two-out fly ball to left-center field. However, Dust Devils center fielder Drevian Williams-Nelson dropped the ball as he appeared to be distracted by Verrier in left field. That allowed Eden to score the Canadians third run. With two runners in scoring position, the Canadians had a chance to pile on but Will Robertson struck out swinging.
Vancouver got to Dust Devils reliever Luis Alvarado for a run in the fifth. Eden and Clarke drew full-count walks but Brito rapped into a 5-3 double play with Clarke the lone survivor at second base. Gold came through again with another two-out RBI as his double to right scored Clarke to make it 4-0.
The Dust Devils spoiled the Canadians shutout bid in the eighth. Julio De La Cruz hit a one-out double off Cobi Johnson and he would score on a throwing error by Brito at second that allowed Livan Soto to move into scoring position. Brito would botch another grounder hit his way off the bat of Davis and Soto was able to scamper home to make it a two-run game. Del Valle worked the count full before drawing a walk from Johnson and that led to a visit on the mound from Vancouver pitching coach Phil Cundari. Johnson’s next pitch resulted in a 6-4 fielder’s choice before striking out Carlos Herrera swinging to leave runners on the corners.
Nick Fraze got the victory in relief with four shutout frames in relief of Watson. Parker Caracci issued a two-out walk in the ninth but that was his only misstep as he collected the save. He got some help from Eden who made the game’s final out off the bat of Jose De La Cruz.
The bottom of the second started well for Watson when he rung up Herrera looking for the first out but he would get into a bases-loaded jam by walking Franklin Torres and Jose Verrier with a single by Williams-Nelson in between. Watson got a comebacker from to force out Torres at the plate. Gold could not hang on to the throw at first from Clarke behind the plate but Watson rallied to strike out Soto swinging to leave the bases loaded.
A 1-2-3 third inning gave Watson three shutout frames in which he struck out three and recorded six of his seven outs in play on the ground.
Fraze was full value for the victory. The Texas State Bobcat allowed just a leadoff single in the fifth by Verrier but got a 3-6-3 double play ball to end the inning and he went on to retire the last 10 batters he faced, striking out two.
In addition to his three RBI, Gold was instrumental in starting and finishing that 3-6-3 double playas he did the splits at first base to complete the twin-killing.
The C’s offence was held in check in innings six through nine. Robertson was the only batter to reach base after earning a leadoff walk in the ninth against Erick Julio. The Creighton Bluejay is scuffling to start the season as he is just 1-for-19.
The Canadians have a chance to split the six-game series Sunday afternoon. The series finale is set for 1:30 pm. Adam Kloffenstein will make his second start of the year after throwing four scoreless innings in the season opener.
C’s Alumni Report
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