Trevor Schwecke (#7) and Miguel Hiraldo (#5) played starring roles on offence in Vancouver’s doubleheader sweep of Eugene Friday.
The Emeralds began the scoring when Armani Smith took the first pitch from C’s starter Naswell Paulino—a 78 mile-per-hour offering—over the fence in left-center field to begin the second inning.
In their red uniforms, the C’s would respond in the bottom of the second against Em’s starter Prelander Berroa. With one out, Miguel Hiraldo lined a double to left that Smith took a few steps forward before trying to break back to catch the ball. Hiraldo stole third and would come home on a two-out, ground-rule to left field by Hugo Cardona.
The game would remain tied until the bottom of the fifth. Leo Jiménez took a full-count pitch in the leg from Eugene reliever Abel Adames to start the inning and would race to third on an Addison Barger double off the right field wall. A passed ball by Emeralds catcher Patrick Bailey allowed Jiménez to score the tie-breaking run and Barger to get to third. Barger would tag up on a fly ball to center by P.K. Morris to give Vancouver a two-run lead.
Davis Schneider provided another insurance run with a solo home run to left to start the sixth off Adames.
The doubleheader was supposed to start at 1:05 p.m. but did not start until an hour later as the grounds crew was still trying to fix up a section of shallow right-center field which was soaked by a couple of days of rain.
Morris was the first Vancouver baserunner of the day with a two-out walk in the first inning.
The C’s loaded up the bases after Cardona’s ground-rule double when Jiménez drew a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch but Barger struck out swinging.
Hiraldo had a leadoff single to center to start the fourth and stole second base but was left stranded. He overslid the second base bag but somehow managed to avoid the tag. Hiraldo had the lone two-hit game for Vancouver and swiped two bases as well. Schneider was on base twice with a walk to go along with his second home run of the season. Jiménez was aboard twice with a walk and a hit by pitch. Barger, Britton and Cardona had the other knocks for the C’s.
Barger and Morris teamed up to retire Marco Luciano in the fourth inning. Barger made a diving stop at third towards the line and Morris stretched out to pick the throw at first to make the defensive play of the game.
Paulino was perfect against the entire Eugene lineup except for Smith who not only hit a home run but drew a two-out walk in the fourth. That walk was questionable as Paulino thought he had got Smith looking at strike three. The Dominican lefty retired eight in a row and nine of the last 10 hitters he faced, striking out the side in the third. Paulino struck out four and had five of his seven outs in play on the ground.
Hunter Gregory took over for Paulino to start the fifth and like Paulino, he solved everybody in the Emeralds batting order save for Smith. Gregory mowed down the first seven hitters he faced before walking Smith with one out in the seventh. He struck out five over three hitless innings to collect his first win of the season.
The second game started like the first game with Eugene opening the scoring with a home run but doing so an inning earlier. Hunter Bishop jumped on a 2-0 pitch from Vancouver starter Chad Dallas and deposited it over the right field wall to lead off the game.
The white-uniformed Canadians got the bats going in their first at-bat. Leo Jiménez was hit by a Kyle Harrison pitch on a full count and Addison Barger lined a single up the middle to put the first two runners on. Harrison would strike out the next two men he faced but lost Zach Britton on a 3-2 pitch to walk the bases loaded. Trevor Schwecke would unload them by unloading on a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center field for a grand slam.
Vancouver would widen the gap in the second with a two-out rally. Harrison should have had a 1-2-3 inning when Jiménez pulled a ground ball to short but the throw from Luciano was dropped by Luis Toribio at first. Barger drew a walk to pass the baton to Riley Tirotta and he rocked one into the left field porch for a three-run homer to make it 7-1.
The Emeralds would get two runs back in the fourth off Dallas. Ghordy Santos singled to right and got to second on an error by Mack Mueller and trotted home on a Casey Schmitt homer to left.
Schmitt wound up giving one of those runs back in the sixth. Jiménez got another rally going for Vancouver in the sixth against Emeralds reliever Brett Standlee as he took yet another for the team on a 3-2 pitch. Jiménez would make it to second on a Barger grounder to second base and would make it all the way home when Schmitt booted a ball at third, allowing Tirotta to pull into second. Zach Britton then singled to right to bring home Tirotta with Vancouver’s ninth run.
Eugene would not go away quietly in the seventh. Rodolfo Bone opened the frame with a single off C’s reliever Mark Simon. A two-out walk by Luis Matos kept the Em’s alive and then Luciano doubled over Mueller’s head in right to score Bone. A base hit by Armani Smith scored Matos and Luciano to bring the potential tying run on deck. Simon made sure the tying run would not get to the plate as he retired Toribio on a ground out to first for the final out.
Game 2 Notes
The Canadians tried to do more damage in the third inning against Eugene lefty Juan Sanchez. Schwecke picked up a leadoff walk and that was followed by free passes to Andrés Sosa with one out and Jiménez with two out but Barger struck out on a foul trip.
In the fifth, Harry Ray singled down the right field line with one out and tried to stretch it into a double but was thrown out on a 9-6 play. That was a big play as Sosa followed with a double to left but he would be stranded.
Eight Canadians reached base at least once. Barger, Britton, Schwecke and Sosa each had a hit and a walk.
Barger leads the Northwest League in hits with 17 and is just one point back of the Tri-City duo of Jordyn Adams and Kyle Kasser for the batting average lead at .378. He also drew his first walk of the season.
Schwecke’s homer was his third of the year and that ties him with the Emeralds’ Smith and Hillsboro’s Tim Tawa for the Northwest League.
Jiménez walked once and was hit by two pitches and scored three runs. Jiménez was plunked three times in the doubleheader. He is hitting just .185 but is fourth in the NWL in on-base percentage at .436.
Dallas pitched three-plus innings and did not quite have the form he showed in his debut start when he won the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week after five shutout innings in Tri-City. He served up two home runs and three runs in total on five hits and two walks but did strike out six.
Will McAffer took over for Dallas and got three straight fly ball outs to retire the side in the fourth. That gave the North Vancouver native his first win of the season.
Garrett Farmer made his organizational debut with the Toronto Blue Jays with two perfect innings of relief. The former Baltimore farmhand got four of his six outs in play on the ground.
Simon surrendered three runs on three hits and a walk with one strikeout in the seventh.
Radar Gun Rundown
Paulino ranged from 77 to 92 with strikeouts at 89, 80, 92 and 82. Gregory had punch outs at 94, 95, 93, 93, 93 and 94 and was at 81 and 82 on the low end. There was one pitch Gregory threw that was clocked at 99.
The fastest pitch was from Berroa of the Emeralds as he reached 100 and also hit 98 and 99.
Dallas had strikeouts of 83, 82, 81, 80, 83 and 86. He was up to 92 and 94 and down to 79. Farmer had a number of pitches at 82 and was up to 92. Simon had one K at 92 and ranged from 90-94. I missed out on McAffer’s velocities. He was just too darn efficient.
The series continues Saturday afternoon in a 1:05 p.m. start at Nat Bailey Stadium. Adam Kloffenstein gets the ball for Vancouver. The game can be heard at CanadiansBaseball.com.