The Vancouver Canadians evened the score with the UBC Thunderbirds at Nat Bailey Stadium on Wednesday.
After losing 2-0 in last year’s inaugural exhibition matchup, the C’s defeated the T-Birds by a score of 8-1. It should be noted that a bottom of the seventh inning was played despite the fact the Canadians had already held a 5-1 lead after six-and-a-half frames.
Lefthander Trenton Wallace got the ball for Vancouver and he needed three pitches to strike out leadoff hitter Brett Corbeth. He stranded a two-out walk and stolen base from Mike Fitzsimmons to end the first.
Gabby Martinez was the first C’s baserunner with a one-out walk in the first after Dasan Brown popped up on the first pitch from Cole Alguire but Rainer Nuñez hit into a 6-3 double play.
Josh Kasevich dented the center field wall with a leadoff double but was thrown out at third when Alan Roden grounded into a 6-5 fielder’s choice. Roden stole second base and scored on a Cade Doughty base hit. After Doughty advanced to second on the throw home, Jommer Hernandez scored the former LSU Tiger with a base hit to right.
In the top of the third, Wallace worked around a one-out base hit by Kyle Anderson and a two-out knock by Aaron Marsh by striking out a pair of batters.
The bottom half saw the C’s pad their lead with one-out walks issued to Alex De Jesus, Kasevich and Roden before Doughty doubled to left field. Anderson made a valiant attempt to make a diving catch but just missed it. The inning was then halted and the game moved to the fourth inning. No official reason was given but perhaps UBC hurler Daniel Sereda reached his pitch limit. After all, the game doesn’t count.
The fourth inning was sponsored by the letter K. Wallace struck out two batters in the top half before UBC reliever Brendan Logan struck out the side in the bottom half.
Hunter Gregory relieved Wallace in the fifth and handed out a one-out free pass to David Draayers but Nuñez snared a liner from Anderson and stepped on the first base bag for the inning-ending twin killing.
Nuñez went to work on offence in the bottom of the frame as his single to left drove in Riley Tirotta after he led the inning with a walk and stole second base.
UBC broke up the shutout bid in the sixth when Luciano Letteri singled off Gregory to start the inning before Noah Or delivered a two-out base rap.
Connor Cooke worked a perfect frame in the top half of the seventh, hitting 99 miles per hour on the radar gun.
De Jesus, Michael Turconi and Doughty all had base hits to help bring in three more runs for Monty’s Mounties.
A number of roster moves were made on Wednesday. Righthanders Ben Baggett, Anders Tolhurst, Geison Urbaez and Winder Garcia have been promoted from Low-A Dunedin to High-A Vancouver while outfielder-turned-pitcher Mackenzie Mueller gets bumped up from the Florida Complex League. However, none of these players will be seeing action anytime soon. Baggett and Mueller are listed as ‘Injured – Full Season’ on their MiLB.com player pages. Tolhurst and Urbaez are on the seven-day injured list and Garcia is on the 60-day IL. Garcia pitched the final game of the 2019 campaign for the C’s while Mueller appeared in Vancouver last season.
2021 C’s pitchers C.J. Van Eyk and Roither Hernandez are also on the sidelines with Van Eyk on the seven-day injured list while Hernandez’s status has been downgraded to ‘Injured – Full Season’.
In even more injury news, 2022 C’s righty Matt Svanson is on the seven-day IL and 2017 northpaw Donnie Sellers is on the 60-day register.
For Double-A New Hampshire, infielder Trevor Schwecke (2019, 2021-2022) and righthander Juan Nuñez (2017-2019, 2022) have been placed on the Development List.
A number of players from both teams were shuffled into Wednesday’s game. Estiven Machado got the start at second base before being replaced by Turconi and Devonte Brown replaced Dasan Brown in center field later in the game. Andrés Sosa was listed as the starting catcher in the batting order but Jommer Hernandez caught all seven innings instead.
The C’s host the Spokane Indians for the opening series of the 2023 Northwest League season. Lefthander Adam Macko is scheduled to throw the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Game times are 1:05 p.m. for Saturday and Sunday. All games are on CanadiansBaseball.com and the series will be on MiLB.TV with Tyler Zickel calling the action.