Another Vancouver Canadians rally fell short as they lost again to the Hillsboro Hops 4-2 at Ron Tonkin Field Friday.
The C’s picked up the game’s first run in the first inning. Hops starter Jake Rice walked Eric Rivera to begin the frame before Rivera stole second with one out and moved up to third on a passed ball by Nick Dalesandro. A base hit to center field by Philip Clarke that shortstop Blaze Alexander could not handle allowed Rivera to cross the plate.
The Hops would rally against Vancouver starter Paxton Schultz with two outs in the fourth. Alexander worked the count full before reaching on a base on balls and he would steal second. Tristin English would hit a ground-rule double to score Alexander with the tying run. Dalesandro would also double to plate English with the go-ahead run.
Hillsboro would add to their lead in the sixth against Willy Gaston. A fielding error by P.K. Morris at first base allowed Jorge Barrosa to get aboard. Barrosa stole second but was nailed by Clarke at third on the front end of a double steal that saw Alexander move to second after drawing a one-out walk. English and Dalesandro and a passed ball by Clarke in between resulted in the bases being loaded. Axel Andueza managed to drive in two runs on an infield single to short to make it 4-1 Hops.
Vancouver put together a two-out rally in the seventh against Gerald Ogando. An infield single to second by Zac Cook was driven home by a Trevor Schwecke double to center field.
Will Robertson had a two-out infield single to short in the first that was stranded and Schwecke started the second with a single to center but he was thrown out stealing.
Schwecke reached base in the fifth when Cam Coursey booted a ball at second but Hops reliever Kai-Wei Lin got P.K. Morris to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
Vancouver put two runners on with one out in the eighth when Rivera made it to first on an English throwing error at third and Addison Barger followed with a single to right. However, Bobby Ay righted the ship for Hillsboro when he got Clarke to fly out to left and Davis Schneider to ground into a 4-6 fielder’s choice.
Ay would run into trouble in the ninth when eight of his nine pitches missed the strike zone, resulting in walks to Robertson and Cook with nobody out. Liu Fuenmayor took over for Ay and struck out Schwecke but a passed ball by Dalesandro put Robertson and Cook in scoring position. Fuenmayor would strike out P.K. Morris on a 3-2 pitch before getting Harrison Ray to also go down swinging to end the game.
Schwecke had two of the Canadians six hits on the night. Robertson and Cook both singled and walked. Rivera walked and stole his 13th base of the year. The C’s were 1-for-8 in the RISP category with seven LOB.
Schultz took the loss despite just four baserunners in five innings. He limited the Hops to two runs on two hits and two walks while racking up seven strikeouts.
Gaston was gonged for two runs on two hits and three walks and struck out one over two frames.
Thomas Ruwe struck out the side in the eighth inning and added one more K in the ninth over two perfect frames.
Vancouver is 10 games below .500 at 54 wins and 64 losses, leaving them 1-1/2 games behind Hillsboro for fourth place in the High-A West standings. With Saturday’s game being cancelled due to rain, that will relegate the C’s to fifth place in the standings.
That means the final game of 2021 is set for Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Adam Kloffenstein is the scheduled starter for Vancouver. Alejandro Melean—who was to start Saturday—may follow Kloffenstein out of the bullpen.