The Vancouver Canadians bookended four losses with a 6-4 victory over the Hillsboro Hops at Ron Tonkin Field Sunday.
A leadoff walk issued to Blaze Alexander by C’s starter Luis Quinones led to the first run of the game for Hillsboro in the second inning. After losing Alexander on a 3-2 pitch, Quinones got the next two hitters out but an infield single by Axel Andueza and an error by second baseman Rafael Lantigua saw Alexander score all the way from second. Lantigua made a diving stop on the groundball by Andueza on the shortstop side of second but tried to flip the ball to shortstop Luis De Los Santos but De Los Santos could not get the handle on it.
The Canadians got a rally going with two out in the third against Hops starter Josh McMinn. After sitting down the first eight hitters he faced, McMinn walked number nine hitter Eric Rivera after a full count. Rivera stole second base uncontested and would come around to score on a D.J. Neal base hit to shallow right-center field. Hops second baseman Cam Courcey tried to make a diving stop on the ball but he booted it into left-center field to allow Rivera to get home with the tying run.
Another two-out rally in the fourth saw Vancouver grab the lead. Hops reliever Wesley Rodriguez walked Ryan Gold on four pitches and walked Philip Clarke after a nine-pitch battle after getting ahead of Clarke 0-2. Lantigua then lined a base hit into left-center field to cash in Gold. Neal beat out an infield chopper to third to score Clarke and Rivera slapped a single to right to score Lantigua to make it a 4-1 lead for the C’s.
Hillsboro had some two-out magic of their own in the bottom of the fourth off Quinones. Eduardo Diaz doubled before Nick Dalesandro smacked an RBI single to center on a 1-2 pitch to cut the Canadians advantage to 4-2.
The C’s got to Hops lefty Denson Hull in the top half of the sixth. Lantigua got on base with a leadoff walk on a 3-2 pitch, stole second and rumbled home when Rivera rapped a single to right.
Spencer Brickhouse cut the C’s lead back to two runs when he blasted a home run to right on the first pitch from C’s reliever Adrian Hernandez.
Vancouver answered back in the seventh against Bobby Ay. Sebastian Espino used the opposite field by poking a leadoff base hit to right and Ryan Gold picked up a base on balls. Clarke then pulled a single to right to score Espino with the sixth Vancouver run.
Hillsboro got the final run of the game in the eighth off Roither Hernandez. A leadoff walk to Dominic Canzone and a two-out base hit by Blaze Alexander got Canzone over to third as his blooper fell between C’s center fielder Zac Cook and second baseman Lantigua. Canzone would come in to count on a single by Diaz,
Hillsboro manager Vince Harrison was ejected by home plate umpire Steven Rios Jr. at the end of the eighth inning. He was upset with a called strike three that was high to Yerzy with the bases loaded. Harrison bumped into Rios as well and that is sure to earn him a fine. The generous call helped Roither Hernandez escape the inning with just one run allowed on a pair of hits and a pair of walks. Hernandez walked Dalesandro in the eighth after Diaz’s RBI single to load the bases before punching out Yerzy.
Neal experienced what appeared to be a cramp in his left leg after his infield RBI single in the third but he would remain in the game.
Rivera stole second base in the third inning but was stranded when Cook went down swinging against Hops reliever Kyler Stout.
The C’s had a chance to increase their lead in the fifth when Horwitz hit an opposite field double to left with one out and Gold drew a walk with two out against Hull. Andueza hurt his left thumb after blocking the ball four offering to Gold in the dirt but he stayed behind the dish when Hull struck out Clarke to leave Horwitz and Gold stranded. Andy Yerzy would don the tools of ignorance for Hillsboro in the top of the fifth.
Zac Cook was plunked above the right elbow in the sixth and was part of a double steal with Rivera. De Los Santos walked to load the bases with one away to chase Hull from the game. Ay then got Horwitz to line out to first on an unassisted double play to leave the bags loaded.
Another chance to add on for Vancouver came in the seventh against Ay after there were runners on the corners with one out as the result of Clarke’s RBI knock. Lantigua hit into a 5-4-3 double play that Gold was unable to score on and Neal flied out to left for out number three.
Horwitz made a nice scoop at first base on a low throw by Espino—who bobbled the ball before sending it to first—to end the seventh inning for Connor Law who retired the side with three groundball outs. Horwitz also made a nice pick to dig out a low throw from De Los Santos at short for the game’s final out.
Rivera nearly had a fourth stolen base on the afternoon after beginning the eighth with a leadoff walk from Nick Snyder but Yerzy threw him out at second. It was a very close play and not like last night’s instance when Rivera was robbed of a steal when replays showed he was clearly safe.
Yaramil Hiraldo turned away the C’s in the ninth after giving up a Horwitz double to right-center by retiring the next three hitters in a row.
Rivera had two hits, two walks and two runs batted in and Horwitz had the other two-hit day with a pair of doubles.
Cook picked up his first base hit in a Canadians uniform in the third inning to snap an 0-for-12 start. He also swiped his first base and picked up his first walk.
Lantigua also had a double, a swipe and a free pass. The stolen base was his 12th of the year.
Seven of the nine Canadians hitters had at least one hit and all nine reached base by a hit or a walk. Gold was the on-base leader with three free passes.
Quinones was able to get through the fourth inning but that final out did not come easy. Dalesandro stole second base after his two-out RBI single and Andueza heard ball four from the home plate umpire to put two runners on. Coursey lifted a 3-2 pitch into foul territory on the first base side which was almost dropped by Horwitz at first base but managed to trap it against his stomach to end the threat.
Quinones needed 81 pitches to get through four innings in which he gave up two runs on four hits but the key stat on his pitching was just two walks. He also struck out seven batters as he whiffed the side in order in the first. He mixed his fastball, breaking ball and split-finger offerings throughout the afternoon.
Adrian Hernandez picked up the win with two innings of one-run relief on a hit and a walk, striking out three by using a changeup in the fifth and locating two fastball at the knees ouside corner in the sixth.
Caracci was a teammate of Toronto Blue Jays first-round pick Gunnar Hoglund in 2019 at Mississippi. The righthanded hurler agreed to a $3,247,500 signing bonus from the Jays on Friday, just five days after being selected in the MLB draft. It will be a while before Caracci and Hoglund become teammates again as Hoglund underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in May that may seem him miss the majority—if not entirety—of the 2022 season.
When Hoglund does get around to joining Vancouver, it will not be the first time the C’s have had a Gunnar on the roster or a Gunnar H. for that matter. Fans may remember infielder Gunnar Heidt who played for Monty’s Mounties in 2014 and 2015.
Continuing with college connections, Hops hurler Hull was a teammate of C’s outfielder Will Robertson when they were Creighton Bluejays in 2018 and 2019. Robertson is on a rehab assignment at the Florida Complex League in Dunedin.
It appears C’s reliever Hagen Danner may be ready to return to action soon. He was spotted warming up in the Canadians bullpen in the early innings of Sunday’s game. The 61st overall pick of the 2017 draft out of Huntington Beach High School in California was placed on the injured list back on June 4, one day after leaving his June 3 appearance against Eugene with an injury.
Vancouver will stay in Hillsboro but this time as the home team as they host the Everett AquaSox for a six-game series starting Tuesday. Paxton Schultz is slated to throw the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. on CanadiansBaseball.com. Wednesday’s starter is TBA but C.J. Van Eyk and Adam Kloffenstein are listed as the probable starters for Thursday and Friday.
The Canadians improve to 32-34 on the season but remain 6-1/2 and 11 games behind Eugene and Everett.
Congratulations goes to 2018 C’s outfielder Griffin Conine who is heading to Double-A Pensacola after hitting 23 home runs with High-A Beloit in the Miami Marlins system. That total leads the entire minor leagues.
C’s Alumni Report
Buffalo lost Game 1 of their doubleheader to Lehigh Valley 12-4 Sunday.
- Riley Adams – 1/4
- Logan Warmoth – 0/2, 2BB
- Nash Knight – 1/3, BB
The Bisons bounced back by blanking the IronPigs 4-0 in Game 2.
- Warmoth – 1/3, 2B, R
- Cullen Large – 0/2, BB
- Adams – 0/2, BB
- Patrick Murphy – 2.0IP 1H 0R/ER 1BB 1K (W, 1-1)
New Hampshire downed Hartford 7-4.
- Samad Taylor -2/3, RBI, SB (18)
- Chavez Young – 1/5, 2RBI, R
- Otto Lopez – 1/4, R
- L.J. Talley – 1/4, HR, 3RBI
- Vinny Capra – 1/4, 2B
- Tanner Kirwer – 1/3, BB
- Marcus Reyes – 3.0IP 3H 2R/ER 0BB 4K (W, 1-0)
- Graham Spraker – 1.0IP 0H 0R/ER 0BB 0K – 1.96 ERA
Cavan Biggio walked and scored a run and Tayler Saucedo had a scoreless seventh as the Toronto Blue Jays beat up Texas 10-0 to complete a doubleheader sweep Sunday and a three-game sweep overall.
Miguel Castro tossed a goose egg as the New York Mets rallied to beat Pittsburgh 7-6.
Rowdy Tellez had a walk, a run scored and an RBI and Angel Perdomo struck out the only two batters he faced to complete an 8-0 shutout by Milwaukee over Cincinnati.