The Vancouver Canadians got by the Hillsboro Hops 2-1 at Ron Tonkin Field on Friday.
Devonte Brown singled on the first pitch of the game from Hillsboro starter Spencer Giesting. Alan Roden took a Giesting pitch on the right wrist but was amazingly not awarded first base. Instead, C’s manager Brent Lavallee was ejected by home plate umpire Conor McKenna. Roden wound up singling on the next pitch to left field to execute a hit-and-run that got Brown over to third. Rainer Nuñez chopped one to third where Ivan Melendez could only make the throw to second. Joshua Day lost the ball on the transfer but stayed on the second base bag long enough to get the out. That allowed Brown to score with a headfirst slide at home with the game’s first run. Gabby Martinez singled to left but one run was all Vancouver would get.
Hillsboro got their leadoff man aboard against C’s starter Trenton Wallace when S.P. Chen flared a double near the left field line just out of the reach of a diving Roden and Riley Tirotta at third. Wallace struck out Channy Ortiz looking and fanned Melendez for the first two outs. Chen would steal third but Wallace got J.J. D’Orazio to ground out to short to keep Hillsboro off the board.
Geisting started the top of the second with a pair of strikeouts. Michael Turconi looked to have held up on a checked swing on a 3-2 pitch but instead of a base on balls, the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon got a K instead. However, Giesting did not get one by Jommer Hernández. With the rain coming down, the C’s catcher brought some rain of his own as he homered to right field to put Vancouver ahead 2-0. Devonte Brown drew a walk but that was the last C’s baserunner in the inning.
The Hops got their first batter on base again when Jesus Valdez singled to left but Wallace struck out Shane Muntz and Garry Mattis swinging with the latter strikeout coming just before Hernández threw out Valdez trying to steal second on a bang-bang play as Turconi laid down the tag.
Giesting and Wallace put up zeros in the third with Wallace striking out Day to begin a perfect frame.
The C’s had a two-out rally in the fourth against Giesting when Turconi reached base on catcher’s interference and got to third on a Hernández single to center field but Devonte Brown’s fly out to center left them stranded.
Wallace had another baserunner to deal with to start the fourth when Ortiz reached on a single to right. Ortiz got into scoring position when D’Orazio grounded out to second. Valdez hit a sinking liner to left-center but Roden made a diving catch to turn the Hops away.
Connor Grames relieved Giesting in the top of the fifth and worked a spotless frame. Wallace stayed around for the fifth and struck out Muntz and Mattis. A ground ball to short by Day was booted and thrown away by Josh Kasevich to the Hillsboro dugout, resulting in Day getting to second base. Wallace picked up Kasevich by getting Jacen Roberson to ground out sharply to first with Nuñez winning a foot race to the bag.
Vancouver tried to pad their lead when Dasan Brown got on base on a throwing error at short by Valdez with one out. Brown stole second and third but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Kasevich ground ball to third. Grames ended the inning by striking out Turconi swinging.
Naswell Paulino worked the sixth for the Canadians and surrender two one-out singles with Ortiz singling to right and Melendez touching green to left. The Dominican lefty then got a 5-3 double play ball with Tirotta stepping on the third base bag to get Ortiz before making the throw to first.
Lefthander Carlos Meza came into the game for Hillsboro in the seventh with his only miscue being a hit-by-pitch that grazed Roden’s side. No Canadians coaches were ejected either.
Conor Larkin was next out of the Vancouver bullpen and the luck of the Irish was not with him on this night Valdez got on base with an infield single to short that just snuck under Larkin’s glove. Muntz then got aboard when Devonte Brown dropped a ball in right field. Mattis walked to load the bases before Larkin hit Day in the left arm with a pitch to score Valdez with the Hops first run. T.J. Brock entered the game with the bases loaded and nobody out but he struck out Roberson swinging on three pitches, retired Chen on a shallow fly to left with the infield fly rule being called and then struck out Ortiz swinging to allow Vancouver to hold on to its one-run lead.
Martinez walked on four straight pitches to begin the top of the eighth but a Tirotta 6-4-3 double play helped Meza face just three batters in the inning. MiLB.TV replays showed Tirotta beat the relay throw after Day double-clutched before throwing the ball to first.
After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, Brock wound up loading the bases in the bottom of the eighth. The trouble started when Brock hit Melendez with a pitch near the left shoulder. A couple of walks to D’Orazio and Muntz sandwiched a strikeout of Valdez swinging but Brock did not allow another ball to be put in play as he whiffed Mattis and Day.
Junior Mieses struck out the first two Vancouver batters he faced in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth. Devereaux Harrison was called from the C’s bullpen to get the final three outs. He retired Roberson on a fly ball to the warning track in center field but walked Chen to put the potential tying run on. Ortiz’s ground ball to first moved Chen to second base but Harrison struck out Melendez struck out swinging for the 27th out.
2019, 2021-2022 C’s righthander Adam Kloffenstein spun six shutout innings and struck out eight and 2019 and 2021 C’s outfielder Will Robertson belted a two-run homer to help New Hampshire blank Harrisburg 3-0 in Manchester on Friday.
The Canadians and Hops play the fifth game of this series on Saturday. Dahian Santos gets the starting assignment for Vancouver in a 4:05 p.m. start. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.