The Vancouver Canadians beat the Everett AquaSox for a second straight night with a 3-0 whitewash at Ron Tonkin Field Friday.
C’s starter Nick Fraze set the tone early as he needed just five pitches to retire the Frogs in the top of the first and he would have a two-run lead to work with for the top of the second.
Luis De Los Santos appeared to hit a leadoff home run for Vancouver in the bottom of the first but home plate umpire Steven Rios Jr. called it foul. De Los Santos would line the next pitch from Michael Limoncelli to center field to get on base. A steal of second was the next stop for De Los Santos before he advanced to third on a two-out fly ball to center by Cameron Eden. De Los Santos was able to distract Limoncelli enough by taking a large lead from third. That forced the Everett starter commit a balk to produced the first run of the game. Spencer Horwitz kept the rally going with a full-count walk and Ryan Gold singled to put runners on the corners. D.J. Neal brought in Horwitz with an infield single to short to give the C’s a 2-0 lead. Sebastian Espino walked to load the bases but Eric Rivera popped up to short for out number three.
The C’s scored the game’s final run in the sixth as Gold took Stephen Kolek deep to right field to start the frame. Kolek took over to start the second inning for Limoncelli who was making his professional debut.
Fraze delivered six shutout innings of two-hit ball while walking just one, striking out seven, five of them caught looking. The majority of his K’s came on his breaking ball. He collected six outs on the ground in his 76-pitch outing, throwing 43 of them for strikes.
The first hit Fraze allowed was a broken-bat single by Cody Grosse with one out in the third but Philip Clarke would throw him out when he attempted to steal second. The second hit off Fraze was a leadoff double by Jack Larsen in the fifth but he was stranded at third after an inning-ending strikeout of Connor Hoover. Fraze struck out the side in the fourth and whiffed three of the final four men he faced. He also and retired 10 of the last 11 hitters he faced. He improves to 3-0 on the season and reduced his earned run average to 1.57.
Former major league pitcher Kent Bottenfield joined C’s play-by-play Tyler Zickel during Friday night’s broadcast on CanadiansBaseball.com. The former Montreal Expo and 1999 All-Star shared some observations about Fraze.
“What I’ve seen from him is the ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes. His control has been good. He’s been in command. He’s got great body language out there on the mound which is a huge factor that a lot of times people don’t understand. He sends great messages to the other side of the field like, ‘Hey, I’m not here to mess around. I’m coming after you.’ And if you don’t show any sign of weakness, man, those guys will tear you up…
I feel like I can tell a little bit about his mindset is by watching how he goes about (his business) especially when he’s pitching in to left-handers because one of the biggest fears for right-handers is ‘Man, if I leave this ball down and in, it’s going to get crushed.” But he has no qualms about coming inside. He’s elevated a little bit on the inside which is tougher for a lefty to hit and so that tells me a lot about him…
One of the things that I really like about what I’ve seen of Fraze in just this short time is he uses both sides of the plate. So many guys get in the habit of or are fearful of coming in on hitters. He’s done a good job coming in with his fastball, he’s coming with his slider. You don’t see that a lot anymore….
I see a lot of confidence coming from him and that is the biggest part of the battle when you step out there on the mound.”
Neal made a sliding catch off the bat of Shenton in left field for the first out of the seventh. That was the first batter retired by lefty Brandon Eisert as he proceeded to strike out the next two hitters to retire the side in order. He got Carter Bins looking on a changeup on a 3-2 pitch before getting Larsen to go down swinging in a three-pitch at-bat.
The eighth inning saw Eisert give up a ground-rule double to Patrick Frick to begin the eighth before getting the next three hitters in a row, leaving Frick at third. He struck out Hoover to give him three Ks in his two innings.
Eden made a nice running catch in deep center field to rob Grosse of an extra-base hit for the third out in the eighth.
Justin Maese came in to work the ninth. Zach DeLoach singled to short to start the frame for Everett but he was forced out at second on a 4-6 fielder’s choice by Kaden Polcovich. Maese got Shenton to strike out swinging but Polcovich stole second and Bins walked to bring up Larsen as the potential tying run. Larsen would go down swinging and that resulted in Maese’s second save of the year. Maese has an 0.82 ERA so far while Eisert is just a little bit higher with a 0.87 mark.
Gold had half of Vancouver’s four hits with a homer and single. De Los Santos and Neal had the other base knocks with De Los Santos stealing his second base of the year. The C’s also had four walks with Horwitz drawing two of them. Clarke and Espino had the other free passes.
Friday’s win pulls Vancouver into a first-place tie with Everett and Eugene as they have each won 14 out of their first 22 games.
Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez was not in the Everett lineup for a second straight night. That’s because he’s in Florida to represent the Dominican Republic in an Olympic qualifier.
Vancouver was supposed to face two of the Mariners top pitching prospects the last two nights but Emerson Hancock and George Kirby were late scratches. Brandon Williamson is supposed to start Saturday for Everett. Adam Kloffenstein gets the ball for Vancouver. First pitch is at 7:05 pm and you can listen in on CanadiansBaseball.com.
C’s Alumni Report
Patrick Murphy (2016) threw a perfect frame, inducing three groundouts in Dunedin’s 14-7 win over Tampa.
Rowdy Tellez (2014) drew a pinch-hit walk as Toronto crushed Cleveland 11-2 in a rain-shortened affair in Ohio.
Buffalo and New Hampshire were rained out Friday.