The Vancouver Canadians won their fourth game in six tries against the Hillsboro Hops with a 5-4 victory at Ron Tonkin Field Sunday afternoon.
The C’s broke out on top with two runs in the fifth inning. After being retired in order in the first four innings, Spencer Horwitz started the frame with Vancouver’s first hit of the game, a base hit to right field off Drey Jameson that eluded diving second baseman Alex Hernandez in shallow right field. Horwitz got to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a one-out single up the middle by Luis De Los Santos. A double to right by Sebastian Espino just out of the reach of a leaping Leodany Perez in right field got De Los Santos to third before a sacrifice fly to deep center by Ronny Brito allowed De Los Santos to come home with the Canadians second run. Brito’s drive sounded good off the bat but it appeared the wind kept the ball in the yard.
Horwitz started another rally for Vancouver in the seventh with another leadoff single to left off Hops reliever Julio Frias as Horwitz beat the shift again with a ball that was out of the reach of Buddy Kennedy to his right at third base. Ryan Gold followed with a base hit to right and both runners moved up 90 feet on a De Los Santos fly ball to the warning track in left field. An Espino fly ball to shallow center field was muffed by Eduardo Diaz as the ball fell in between three defenders and that allowed Horwitz to cross the plate with the Canadians third run. Brito walked to load the bases to chase Frias from the game but Kai-Wei Lin stranded all three runners by getting D.J. Neal to fly out to shallow left field and Eric Rivera to ground out to third.
Hillsboro responded with a run in the seventh when Blaze Alexander doubled off the right field wall against Justin Maese. It looked like Maese had everything sorted when he struck out Axel Andueza swinging and Tristin English looking but he lost Kennedy on a 3-2 pitch to walk him. That allowed Reece Hampton to drop a single to center to score Alexander. Maese ended the inning with a groundout to short off the bat of Nick Dalesandro who stumbled out of the batter’s box trying to run to first. De Los Santos bobbled the ball but recovered just in time to throw out the Hops catcher.
Vancouver managed to doubled their two-run lead in the eighth. Cameron Eden ripped a double to left field with one out and stole third on a bang-bang play. Hops manager Vince Harrison argued the call before Dalesandro was thrown out of the game by base umpire Kevin Mandzuk. Andy Yerzy replaced Dalesandro behind the plate. A wild pitch by Wei-Lin with Horwitz at the plate allowed Eden to score to make it 4-1. Horwitz drew a walk and wound up scoring on a two-out bloop single by De Los Santos that took a kangaroo hop off the turf and glanced off the glove of Diaz in left-center field. Diaz was charged with his second error of the game.
Hillsboro made their final charge in the ninth that began on a leadoff walk to Alexander by Will McAffer. The Hops would load up the bases with one out when English was hit by a pitch in the arm and Kennedy drew a walk. McAffer then sailed a high and away pitch off the glove of Gold behind the plate to allow Alexander to cross home plate. The bases were reloaded when Hampton drew a four-pitch walk. That was the end of the line for McAffer as Parker Caracci came in from the bullpen. He got Yerzy to pop up in foul territory to Gold near the C’s third base dugout for the second out. Perez though took a ball up the middle to score English and Kennedy. Caracci recovered to get Hernandez to pop up to short for the final out.
Schultz nearly threw out Perez after he began the third with an infield chopper to the mound but the right-hander would pick off Perez at first base and wound up facing the minimum three batters to end the frame.
De Los Santos showed good range to his right and Gold made a nice stretch at first base for the first out out of the game and Schultz hustled to first to cover the bag on a grounder to second to end the first. Schultz wound up making three putouts at first base and set down the last 11 hitters he faced. He allowed just two hits and recorded five strikeouts and five groundouts. His record goes to 2-0 with a 3.21 earned run average.
The Hops dugout took exception on a two-strike check swing call by Brito before his sac fly in the sixth inning. That may have been the start of the eruption from Dalesandro when he was ejected from the game in the eighth.
Rivera robbed of his first hit as a Canadian on a running catch by Perez in right field to start the sixth inning. In a case of turnabout is fair fly, Rivera took away a sure extra-base hit from Perez with a beautiful diving catch near the right field foul line. The former Florida Atlantic Owl was shaken up but was able to stay in the game. He gave it his all to try to run down a foul ball down the right field and rob Perez again but he slammed into the fence in foul territory in a valiant effort to get the final out of the game.
Morris made a basket catch in left field from his third base position with his back to the infield to retire Hernandez for the second out of the eighth inning.
Horwitz and De Los Santos had two-hit afternoons with Horwitz walking once and scoring three times. Eden added his 13th stolen base to go along with a double.
Horwitz leads the High-A West League with a .542 on-base percentage and is second in hitting with a .340 batting average. Eden is third in batting average at .333 while Tanner Kirwer and Gold are among the top 10 at .300 and .288 respectively.
Eden and Kirwer still hold down the top two spots in the stolen base race at 13 and 9.
On the pitching side, Nick Fraze and Troy Miller have the fifth- and sixth-best league ERA’s at 1.84 and 2.12. Schultz is tied for sixth in strikeouts with 19 and Caracci is in a three-way tie for the most saves at three.
Sean Wymer gets the start for Vancouver as they open a six-game series against the Everett AquaSox at Ron Tonkin Field. First pitch is at 7:05 pm at CanadiansBaseball.com.
C’s Alumni Report
Congratulations goes to 2019 Vancouver Canadians righty Alek Manoah as he has been called up by the Toronto Blue Jays to start Wednesday’s game in the Bronx. The 11th overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft from West Virginia posted a 0.50 ERA in three starts with Triple-A Buffalo, striking out 27 and walking three in 18 innings. Manoah put together five scoreless frames against the Yankees in spring training, allowing just one hit and striking out 15.
Richard Ureña (2014) doubled and singled and Riley Adams (2017) walked and singled in Buffalo’s 4-0 loss in Worcester. Cullen Large (2017) also had a base knock.
Vinny Capra (2018) had a 3-for-4 day at the plate and Samad Taylor (2017) singled twice with a stolen base but New Hampshire was plunked by Portland 7-2. Kevin Vicuña (2017) and Chris Bec (2018) singled and walked. Andrew McInvale supplied four innings of relief of Elvis Luciano who only got one batter out. McInvale gave up a run on two hits and two walks but struck out three and stranded a runner for Luciano. Sam Ryan earned a hold with 2-2/3 innings of one-hit, striking out three and stranding two McInvale runners.
Patrick Murphy (2016) made his first appearance of the year in Dunedin’s 8-6 loss to Clearwater. He gave up two runs on three hits but only one run was earned and struck out two in 1-1/3 innings. Murphy is trying to bounce back from a shoulder injury.