The Vancouver Canadians fell to the Hillsboro Hops 3-2 at Ron Tonkin Field Wednesday.
Canadians starter Alex Nolan pitched four shutout innings but he would not make it out of the fifth. A leadoff walk to Cam Coursey and a stolen base was followed by an Axel Andueza base knock to put runners at first and third. Nick Dalesandro then reached on a fielding error at short by Addison Barger and that brought in Coursey and Andueza for the game’s first two runs. Jorge Barrosa got aboard on a one-out infield single back to the mound to push Dalesandro to third before Ronny Simon‘s sacrifice fly scored Dalesandro to make it 3-0 Hillsboro.
The C’s got on the board in their half of the fifth against Hillsboro starter Justin Vernia. A double to right by Philip Clarke opened the inning and Clarke would get to third on an infield single to short by P.K. Morris. Barger hit into a 4-6-3 double play to allowed Clarke to score Vancouver’s first run.
In the ninth, Eric Rivera led off with a single to right against Hops reliever Mailon Arroyo and got to second by tagging up on a fly ball to left by Zac Cook. Tanner Morris then ripped a single to right to score Rivera. Will Robertson also singled to the nine-spot to get Morris up to second. Clarke hit into a fielder’s choice that erased Robertson but advanced Morris over to third. A wild pitch allowed Clarke to get to second but the ball was not far enough away from home plate to allow Morris to come home. They would be stranded when P.K. Morris struck out swinging to end the game.
Davis Schneider was the first to reach base for Vancouver with a leadoff walk in the third but Harrison Ray lined into a 6-3 double play to allow Vernia to face the minimum through three innings.
Cook had the first base hit with a leadoff single to right but he was also forced out on the front end of a 1-6-3 double play from Tanner Morris to help Vernia again face just three batters in the frame.
Rivera had a one-out base hit in the sixth but he was not doubled off. Instead, Cook struck out swinging and Morris flied out to left. It was only until Rivera singled to start the ninth that the C’s had someone on base again.
Rivera had the only two-hit night for Vancouver who finished with seven in total. They had just five opportunities with runners in scoring position and had two hits, stranding three runners.
Nolan retired the first four men he faced before walking Vukovich in the second and giving up a single to Coursey but Clarke threw out Vukovich trying to steal third before Nolan struck out Andueza swinging.
A two-base error by P.K. Morris allowed Barrosa to keep the third inning going but Nolan would sit down the next four hitters he faced to get into the fifth.
Nolan allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks and struck out four over 4-2/3 innings. North Vancouver native Will McAffer struck out Blaze Alexander to strand a runner for Nolan in ending the fifth. He gave up just one hit and struck out three over 2-1/3 innings. Gabriel Ponce walked one and whiffed two in a shutout eighth and Jol Concepion walked one and whiffed one in a scoreless ninth.
Vancouver falls to 54-62 on the season, just one-half game ahead of Hillsboro for fourth place in the High-A West division. The C’s will need to win the final four games of this series to gain a split of the season series. Hillsboro has won 15 of the 26 games played against Vancouver this year.
The C’s are now 0-57 on the year when they have trailed after eight innings. Hat tip to the C’s press notes for that nugget of information.
Sem Robberse gets the start for Vancouver and Kyle Backhus goes for Hillsboro. Game time is 7:05 pm on CanadiansBaseball.com.
The High-A West championship final is set. The Spokane Indians will take on the Eugene Emeralds in a best-of-five series this coming Tuesday at Avista Stadium after Spokane beat Everett 6-3 Wednesday to clinch a playoff berth. Spokane is just one-half game back of Eugene for first place but Spokane will get home field advantage because the University of Oregon is kicking the Emeralds out of P.K. Park for its fall practice schedule. The Emeralds have been told by Major League Baseball they need a new ballpark that meets the standards laid out by MLB after its takeover of Minor League Baseball. If a new park is not in place by 2025, Eugene will lose its franchise.