Ron Tonkin Field has become a house of horrors for the Vancouver Canadians after a 3-2 loss to the Hillsboro Hops Tuesday night.
The C’s used a pair of one-out flare singles to right by Davis Schneider and Andrés Sosa off Hops starter Jamison Hill to put runners on the corners in the third inning. Schneider flared a ball just out of the reach of Tim Tawa at second. Cameron Eden then produced a sacrifice fly to center to score Schneider with the game’s first run.
Vancouver got to Hops lefty Andrew Saalfrank for a run in the seventh. Zach Britton worked a one-out walk on four pitches and got to second on a Steward Berroa groundout. Miguel Hiraldo then lined one up the middle to cash in Britton who pulled up gingerly while nearing home plate.
Hillsboro would rally in the ninth when southpaw Jimmy Burnette walked Danny Oriente and “grazed” Roby Enriquez on a 2-2 pitch with nobody out. Where it hit Enriquez was not very evident on MiLB.TV but home plate umpire Kellen Martin apparently saw it. Burnette struck out Ryan Bliss but walked Caleb Roberts on four straight pitches to load the bases. Tawa cleared the bases with a three-run double to deep center that eluded a diving Eden to walk it off for Hillsboro.
The C’s first baserunner was Steward Berroa who worked a two-out walk in the top of the second inning. He stole second but was caught stealing third to end the frame. It appeared Berroa had beaten the thrown. Berroa mildly protested the call from umpire Matt Blackborow but nothing else came of it. Also, Hill had only begun his motion to throw a pitch after the pitch clock reached zero.
Schneider blooped a two-out base hit to left field in the fifth but was forced out on a Sosa broken-bat grounder to short to Bliss who had to range to his right to make the throw to second. Schneider later grounded out to short to strand Hiraldo’s RBI single in the seventh.
Eden was hit by a pitch on a 3-0 count by Bobby Ay with one out in the eighth and moved to second on an Addison Barger groundout to second but Trevor Schwecke struck out swinging.
Sosa drove one to the warning track in right field but was retired to start the eighth. Eden was then hit by a pitch and made it to second on a slow bouncer by Barger to second. Schwecke got ahead in the count 3-1 but wound up striking out to end the frame. The same thing happened to Barger to end the second as he was up two pitches to the good with one strike before going down swinging to strand Sosa at first.
Schwecke continued his recent stellar play at the hot corner by barehanding a bounce near the third base line and Sosa made the necessary stretch to get Tristin English at first. English took a tumble after hitting the bag but would be okay. Schwecke then started a 5-4-3 double play by waiting back on a chopper before unleashing a throw to narrowly get a sliding Spencer Brickhouse after his one-out single. Hiraldo hung in at second base for the relay to deliver a short-hop throw to Sosa to complete the twin-killing.
P.K. Morris worked a leadoff walk against José Alcantara in the ninth but Britton struck out and Berroa reached on a 4-6 fielder’s choice. Berroa was then thrown out trying to steal second.
Schneider was 2-for-3 on the night. Hiraldo and Sosa had the other hits but the one-through-six hitters in the order put up a zero in the hit column with walks by Morris, Britton and Berroa and a hit by pitch to Eden. Berroa swiped his sixth base but was caught twice. Hiraldo confiscated his eighth bag of the year.
Sem Robberse was in line for the win before the ninth inning meltdown. He sat down the first seven hitters he faced before Oriente singled to right in the third. An unassisted bouncer to first and another bouncer to short by Enrique and Bliss respectively stranded Oriente at second.
Robberse then took care of a Roberts leadoff single in the fourth which just eluded a diving Barger at short by getting Adrian Del Castillo to ground out into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play. He went on to retire the last 11 hitters in a row as he struck out four and recorded seven outs on the fake grass. Of his 79 pitches, 54 of them were strikes.
The Dutch righthander did not give up a lot of hard contact. The only challenging play was Morris running down a fly ball towards the left field line to make the second out of the fifth inning.
Abdiel Mendoza allowed the Brickhouse single to right in the eighth but faced the minimum with an inning-ending GIDP.
Burnette took the loss by giving up the bases-clearing double after two walks and a hit by pitch in just one-third of an inning on a strikeout.
The game wasn’t painless but at least it was quick as it finished four minutes shy of the two-hour mark. Tuesday’s loss marks the fourth time Hillsboro has walked off Vancouver with the C’s snatching the defeat from the jaws of victory each time.
The 18-18 C’s look to get over .500 again as they send Chad Dallas to the bump. Scott Randall goes for Hops in a 6:35 p.m. start on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV. Yosver Zulueta and Ricky Tiedemann are slated to start for Vancouver Thursday and Friday and Alejandro Melean will start Sunday’s finale. Saturday’s starter is TBA.