The Vancouver Canadians lost another heartbreaker to the Eugene Emeralds as they dropped a 7-5 decision at P.K. Park Wednesday.
After being held to just one hit by Emeralds starter Taylor Rashi over the first three innings, the Canadians opened the scoring in the fourth against reliever Nick Avila. Cameron Eden singled to left field with one out, stole second and third and came in to score on a two-out Sebastian Espino double to right. Espino also stole third but he was left there when Tanner Morris struck out.
The Emeralds went down in order against Canadians starter C.J. Van Eyk over the first three innings but Ismael Munguia doubled to begin the fourth and he would come home on a Will Willson base hit to even the score at 1-1.
Eugene went ahead in the fifth when Tyler Fitzgerald connected for a solo home run off Van Eyk.
Vancouver moved back in front in the sixth inning. Philip Clarke was gifted with a one-out bloop single to shallow center off Nick Avila. It appeared Wilson had a bead on the ball at short but was battling the sun. The ball glanced off the shortstop Fitzgerald’s glove and then it was dropped by Munguia in center. Eden followed with a base hit to left. Spencer Horwitz hit a ground ball to second that was booted by Wilson at second to load the bases. Espino then squirted one to left field off the glove of Fitzgerald to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead. The C’s might have had a bigger inning but Horwitz was picked off at third by Em’s catcher Patrick Bailey for the second out. Morris was ground out for out number three.
The C’s added on to their lead in the seventh when Luis De Los Santos singled up the middle and Ryan Gold ripped a base hit to right off Avila. Ronny Brito struck out swinging and Rafael Lantigua bounced into a fielder’s choice for the second out to put runners on the corners. Lantigua stole second and would cross home plate with De Los Santos when Andres Guerra—who replaced Clarke behind the plate in the bottom of the sixth—poked an opposite-field single to right to give Vancouver a three-run lead. Guerra had moved up to second on the play and would steal third. Eden would join Guerra in scoring position when he walked and swiped second but Horwitz flied out to left to leave them stranded.
The missed opportunities to add run the last two innings would haunt the C’s in the bottom of the seventh. Lefty Sean Mellen replaced Van Eyk and the trouble started when the first two Emeralds got on base with an Armani Smith single and a Patrick Bailey walk. Logan Wyatt bounced one through the right side of the infield and Lantigua overran the ball in right field to allow Smith and Bailey to score to cut Vancouver’s lead to one. Fitzegerald hit a ground ball to short that De Los Santos calmly handled and threw over to third to cut down Wyatt for the first out. Mellen struck out Franklin Labour swinging but lost an eight-pitch battle with Jacob Gonzalez that resulted in a walk. C’s manager Donnie Murphy went to the bullpen for Justin Maese and that move backfired as Maese served up a three-run homer to Munguia to give the Emeralds a lead they would not relinquish.
Murphy gave up the platoon advantage when he brought the righty Maese in to face the left-handed hitting Munguia. Mellen had thrown 26 pitches to that point but Murphy opted to bring in a fresh arm instead. Coming into the game, Munguia has hit just .188 versus lefties this season but was over 100 points higher against righties.
The Canadians had the bases loaded in the eighth with one out against John Timmins. Espino singled to center and Morris drew a walk. Gold also worked the count to ball four with one away. Timmins was replaced by Tyler Schimpf and he stranded all three runners by striking out Brito and Lantigua. Schimpf retired all five men he faced and had three punchouts to preserve the win for Avila.
Espino had three hits and three runs batted in and collected the only extra-base hit for Vancouver with a double. Eden also got on base three times with two singles and a walk. His three stolen bases move him into a tie with the departed Tanner Kirwer for the High-A West lead at 25. Gold also got on three times with a hit and two free passes.
A great start by Van Eyk was wasted in the process. He gave up just two runs on three hits while striking out eight with no walks. That brought his earned run average down to 4.21. Mellen took the loss by getting mauled for four runs on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Maese pitched the final 1-1/3 innings, giving up a home run and allowing two Mellen runners to cross home plate.
Vancouver has 20 losses against their 24 wins on the season. They are in third place, trailing second-place Everett by 2-1/2 games and first place Eugene by 4-1/2.
Adam Kloffenstein heads to the hill to try to stop the C’s losing skid. First pitch is at 7:05 pm. The game is on MiLB.TV and CanadiansBaseball.com.
Sunday’s game time has been moved up due to the expected heat wave that is coming. First pitch is now 1:05 pm instead of 5:05 pm. Thursday to Saturday’s game times remain at 7:05 pm.
C’s Alumni Report
Nash Knight (2016) had a bases-loaded walk and singled home the winning run in the eighth as Buffalo slipped past Syracuse 4-3. Knight also drew a walk to get aboard three times. Richard Ureña (2014) homered to tie the game in the eighth. Logan Warmoth (2017) doubled, singled, walked and stole a base. T.J. Zeuch (2016) pitched six innings of three-run ball on four hits and three walks. He struck out four and his groundout total was eight.
Nick Podkul (2018) hit a grand slam and Tanner Kirwer (2018, 2021) had a double and two walks as New Hampshire hammered Bowie 10-3. Otto Lopez (2018) tripled, singled and walked, Samad Taylor (2017) had three bases on balls, Vinny Capra (2018) had two hits and Chavez Young (2017) had two walks. Graham Spraker (2017) hit a batter but pitched two shutout inning and struck out four. Jon Harris (2015) struck out two over a shutout frame to finish the game.
Cavan Biggio (2016) had a base hit and Tim Mayza (2014) struck out one in a shutout inning for his sixth hold of the year as Toronto completed a two-game sweep of Miami with a 3-1 win.
Miguel Castro (2014) worked two-thirds of a scoreless inning and stranded a runner but the New York Mets lost to Atlanta 7-3.