The Vancouver Canadians defeated the Eugene Emeralds 9-2 at Nat Bailey Stadium Wednesday.
C’s starter Chad Dallas had a good time and not a long time in the first inning as he set down the Emeralds in order on just seven pitches. In the bottom of the first, Dasan Brown was hit by a Carson Ragsdale pitch just above his left elbow with one out. The Oakville Flash stole second with a headfirst slide but he would be stranded when Alex De Jesus drove one deep to the warning track in left-center field but it landed in the glove of Emeralds left fielder Victor Bericoto for the final out.
Dallas got his first strikeout by whiffing Pericoto for the first out of the second inning on just three pitches. Jared Dupere got the first Eugene hit with an infield single to second base when Michael Turconi had the ball kick off his glove in shallow right field. Adrian Sugastey hit into a fielder’s choice when C’s shortstop Estiven Machado stepped on the bag for the unassisted putout at second but his throw short-hopped Riley Tirotta at first for a missed double play. Luis Toribio walked on four straight pitches but Dallas struck out Ghordy Santos looking on a 3-2 pitch to strand the runners after falling behind in the count 3-0.
Vancouver got on the scoreboard first when Gabby Martinez took Ragsdale deep to open the bottom of the second. The Maracaibo Masher skied one over the wall in left-center, just to the right of the seating area in the C’s bullpen. That was the only ball put into play in the inning as Ragsdale struck out the side swinging.
The C’s hitters did not have to wait too long for their next at-bat in the third inning. Dallas faced the minimum three batters in the top of the third. Cade Doughty made a nice over-the-shoulder catch near the left field foul line from his third base position to retire Damon Dues. Grant McCray was dinged above the right elbow to get on base. After nearly picking off McCray on a throw over to first, Dallas would erase an overanxious McCray by stepping off the mound and making the throw to Turconi at second for the second out. Aeverson Arteaga then popped up to Machado at short to end the inning.
Brown got on base with two outs in the bottom of the third with an infield single to second, using his speed to beat out Dues’ throw from the second base bag but that was all the C’s could do as Doughty struck out swinging.
The Emeralds were retired 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth with Dallas beginning the frame by striking out Logan Wyatt and ending it by whiffing Dupere. Ragsdale countered with two punchouts of his own to send the game into the fifth as Tirotta was retired on a running catch by Dupere on the warning track in foul territory in right field.
Dallas would duplicate his fourth-inning effort with two more punchouts in a perfect fifth, freezing Toribio and Santos. The run support for the former Tennessee Volunteer finally kicked in at the bottom of the fifth. Turconi short-hopped the wall with a double to right-center against Em’s reliever Ty Weber. A fly ball to center from Karl Ellison moved Turconi over to third and the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon was able to score on a headfirst slide by beating the throw from Wyatt at first on a ground ball by Machado. Turconi was able to score even with the infield already in. Brown got on base for a third time with two outs when he reached on a catcher’s interference. There was some confusion as the ball Brown hit was caught by Dupere in right field. The C’s could not take advantage as Doughty grounded out to strand Machado and Brown.
Hunter Gregory was the first C’s reliever out of the bullpen and gave up a base hit to left past a diving Doughty at third. Dues would steal second when McCray struck out but that was as far as he got as Gregory eventually ended the frame by punching out Wyatt.
The C’s were able to expand their lead against Weber in the sixth inning. De Jesus drew a leadoff walk and moved up 180 feet on a wild pitch and a Martinez single to left. Weber then balked De Jesus home and Martinez to second for the third Vancouver run. Tirotta singled to left to move Martinez to third. Tirotta would steal second before Turconi’s sacrifice fly to the left field warning track scored Martinez to make it 4-0 Vancouver. Tirotta would also swipe third but the replay on MiLB.TV showed he may have been out on the headfirst slide when the tag was applied by Toribio. Ellison then followed with a base hit to center to score Tirotta and up the C’s lead to five.
The top of the seventh saw the Emeralds cut into the Canadians advantage with a two-out rally. Gregory gave up a Sugastey single that was blooped to right before Toribio went oppo-taco to left field on an 0-2 pitch. Mason Fluharty was summoned from the Vancouver bullpen and the lefthander ended the inning with his second pitch by retiring Santos on a groundout to first, shattering the bat in the process.
The C’s offence would add on after the stretch against Em’s reliever Nick Morreale. Brown reached base for a fourth time on an infield single to short as Arteaga could do nothing with the ball after getting to the ball on his backhand. Brown stole second for his second swipe of the night and Doughty joined him on base with a base on balls. De Jesus hit a comebacker to the mound that Morreale had trouble with but he recovered to get the out at first. Brown and Doughty moved into scoring position. Martinez smashed a liner to right off the glove of Wyatt at first to bring in Brown to make it 6-2 C’s. Tirotta then ripped a 1-2 pitch double down the left field line which caromed off the wall to drive in Doughty and Martinez to increase the C’s lead to 8-2.
The eighth inning saw the C’s come out on the right side of a bang-bang play at first when Dues was barely retired on a ground ball to short. McCray walked on four straight pitches but Fluharty struck out Arteaga and Wyatt to keep Eugene off the board.
Southpaw Joe Kemlage worked the eighth for the Emeralds and had to deal with a leadoff runner when Machado reached on a throwing error at short as Arteaga’s throw tailed towards Machado at first. Alan Roden also base on an error when his ground ball went right through the legs of Toribio at third into left field. A well-struck fly ball deep to right by Brown got Machado over to third and Doughty’s fly ball to center got Machado home for Vancouver’s ninth marker.
Connor Cooke came on for the top of the ninth and retired the first two batters, getting Dupere looking at strike three for the second out. Sugastey got aboard on an infield single that got behind Cooke and under the glove of Turconi at second but Cooke struck out Toribio swinging to nail down the win.
After some near misses last season, Dallas finally earned his first-ever win at Nat Bailey Stadium. He won his pro debut in Tri-City but that was the only W he registered in 2022 with five shutout innings.
Roden got on base again for an 11th straight game but his 10-game on-base streak is over. He made it to first on Toribio’s error during his final at-bat in the eighth after getting on base at least once via hit, walk or hit by pitch.
During the ninth inning, C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel pointed out that one of Cooke’s sliders in spring training down in Dunedin had a horizontal run of 22 inches. In other words, his slider has lots of movement.
Vauxhall, Alberta’s Adam Macko is set to finally make his C’s debut at Nat Bailey Stadium against the Emeralds Thursday. Game time is 7:05 p.m. on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
Trenton Wallace and Dahian Santos are listed as Vancouver’s probable starters for Friday and Saturday respectively.
2019 and 2021 C’s righthander Nick Fraze was promoted from Double-A New Hampshire to Triple-A Buffalo and made his Bisons debut Wednesday with three innings of one-run ball, a solo homer that resulted in him taking the loss. The former Texas State Bobcat was called up after the promotion of 2017 Canadian Nate Pearson to Toronto.
Radar Gun Rundown
Dallas worked at 83-95 miles per hour with strikeouts at 85, 92, 84, 85, 85 and 86. Gregory registered Ks of 93 and 82 and was up to 97. Fluharty had punchouts at 84 and 97. Cooke had a strikeout at 84 and reached 97.