The Vancouver Canadians will not come away with a split of their six-game series in Hillsboro thanks to a 6-5 loss to the Hops at Ron Tonkin Field Saturday.
The Hops grabbed the early advantage against C’s starter Hunter Gregory in the third. Shane Muntz was hit in the ribs by Gregory’s first pitch of the inning and got to second on an Andrés Sosa passed ball. Gregory lost Danny Oriente on a 3-2 pitch to walk him. Ryan Bliss struck out on three pitches but Muntz and Oriente pulled off a double steal when A.J. Vukovich went down swinging. Gregory was ahead of Tim Tawa 0-2 but gave up a triple to the left field warning track that Harry Ray could not haul in to score Muntz and Oriente. Tawa then stole home when Sosa lobbed the ball back to the mound to make it 3-0 Hillsboro.
The C’s would respond in the seventh against Hugh Fisher who plunked Sosa in the left elbow to begin the frame. Ray then singled to left on a 0-2 pitch. Mack Mueller hit into a 5-3 double play as Vukovich ran to the third base bag to force out Sosa before retiring Mueller at first. That left Ray at second and he would score on a Steward Berroa base hit up the middle to cut Hillsboro’s lead to two.
Vancouver would get on the board again in the eighth when Addison Barger reached on an infield single to short as Bliss could not get the handle on the ball after ranging to his left. Fisher would walk P.K. Morris with one out before giving up a Miguel Hiraldo single to right to fill the bases. Fisher was reeled in by Hillsboro manager Vince Harrison and Kyle Backhus took over on the mound. Backhus struck out Sosa but Ray worked the count full before going to the opposite field with a triple to the right field corner to score Barger, Morris and Hiraldo to put Vancouver in the lead. Mueller lined a single up the middle to score Ray to increase the C’s lead to 5-3.
It looked like the lead would hold when C’s reliever Naswell Paulino struck out Caleb Roberts who should have been awarded first base after Paulino hit him in the hand with a pitch. Umpire Matt Blackborow and base umpire Kellen Martin did not agree much to the chagrin of Roberts and his manager Harrison. Roberts was thrown out of the game for being right, basically. Adrian Del Castillo kept the inning going with a walk and he got to third on a hustle double to center by Tristan English who slid in headfirst. Spencer Brickhouse then launched a three-run homer to right to provide the Hops with the winning margin.
Berroa started the game by flaring a double that landed just fair of the left field line off John, John/Ross, John Ross or Ross Carver depending on where you get your information from. Berroa took off for third but had to retreat on a Schneider fly ball. Berroa would steal third but Barger struck out and Tirotta was robbed of a hit when Tawa ranged to his left at second and spun and fired the ball over to first for the final out.
Hiraldo had the first extra-base hit for the Canadians with a one-out double in the second inning that clanged off the left field fence. He stole third before Sosa drew a walk. Ray struck out but Sosa swiped second. Mueller could not beat out a grounder to third and left the two runners on.
Tirotta reached on a throwing error by Vukovich at third to start inning number four but Morris hit into a 4-6-3 double play and Hiraldo struck out.
Schneider worked a one-out walk in the top of the sixth against Bobby Ay and scampered to third when Barger yanked a double down the right field corner. Tirotta’s fly ball to right was not deep enough to score Schneider. Morris would load the bases with a walk but Hiraldo hit a room-service grounder right to second that Tawa easily took to the bag to squelch that rally.
Barger reached base with one out in the ninth when Channy Ortiz could not cleanly field his bouncer at second and was credited with an infield single but Tirotta and Morris both flied out to right to end the game.
Barger had three hits while Berroa, Hiraldo and Ray had two apiece. Berroa and Hiraldo stole a base to give them seven and 11 on the year respectively. Mueller had the other hit to give Vancouver 10 on the night. Morris walked twice and Sosa was aboard twice with a walk and a hit by pitch. Sosa also stole his first base of the year. Schneider heard ball four once as eight C’s got on base at least once.
Gregory stranded a one-out Vukovich single and a two-out stolen base by striking out Roberts looking to end the first. The second inning saw Gregory retire the side in order which included a strikeout of English. He got Roberts again to strike out to end the third inning. In three innings, Gregory gave up three runs on two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch while striking out five.
Paulino rung up Del Castillo and struck out Brickhouse swinging in the fourth around an English bloop single to center but loaded the bases when Muntz singled to left and Oriente was hit on the left foot with a pitch. Bliss then grounded out sharply to Tirotta who ran to third base to force out Muntz for the third out.
Paulino whiffed two more by getting Vukovich and Roberts in a clean fifth and also retired the side in order in the sixth. The first two Hops were set down in the seventh before Bliss reached on an infield single to short in which Tirotta accidentally got into Barger’s way. However, Paulino got out of the inning with a Vukovich fly out to left.
The pitching line for Paulino was 4-2/3 innings of three-run ball on five hits, a walk and a plunk but struck out five. He took the loss to fall to 1-1.
Garrett Farmer struck out Muntz in relief of Paulino to end the eighth and that was the only batter he would face.
Alejandro Melean will start for Vancouver in the series finale against Marcos Tineo. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
According to the press notes from C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel, Monty’s Mounties are 11-3 in days games this season and are 5-2 on Sundays. They also have a Northwest League-best 77 doubles.
Also, Hiraldo has a seven-game hitting streak on the go by going 10-for-27 in that stretch.