Axel Andueza 2-Run Homer Stakes Lead, Hillsboro Hops Hold On For Win Over Canadians, 7-4
Axel Andueza offered up his first home run of the season to give the Hillsboro Hops a 4-0 lead. But, the Vancouver Canadians proved pesky enough to make it a game. However, the Hops had an answer every time their lead was threatened and held on for the 7-4 victory.
The night after Brandon Pfaadt threw the team’s first complete game since 2015, starter Slade Cecconi (W, 3-2) gave fans thought that they might see the same thing two nights in a row. Until the fifth when he allowed two runs to cut his lead in half. His nemesis turned out to be the pairing of Phil Clarke and Ronny Brito. The foreshadowing began in the third inning when Cecconi gave up his first hit of the game: an innocuous single by Brito that led to a double play.
But, it was what came in the fifth that started the damage. Phil Clarke led off the inning with a single and Ronny Brito followed with a two-run blast to cut the score to 4-2. Yet, they weren’t done. Two innings later, Phil Clarke led off the inning with a single and Ronny Brito followed with his second two-run homer of the night. It was an eerie moment of Deja Vu.
However, other than the two man blips that produced four runs, Slade Cecconi remained in charge. His 89 pitches lasted him through the seventh where pitch count ended his night with a 7-4 lead that turned out to be the final score. Along the way, Slade recorded six strikeouts with no walks. He faced 28 batters, seven above the minimum.
Relief Tandem Holds On For Win
Nick Snyder (H, 4) took over for the eighth. Snyder faced the minimum three batters but not without the help of his defense. Tanner Morris led off the inning reaching base on a throwing error by Hops shortstop Roman Ruiz but was thrown out trying to reach third on Sebastian Espino’s single. Espino was removed from the base paths by an alert Andy Yerzy behind the plate catching him trying to steal.
Yaramil Hiraldo (S, 3) closed out the ninth with a three run lead and almost needed every run. The Canadians sent the tying run to the plate with two outs before Eric Rivera sent a fly ball to center fielder Jorge Barrosa to end the game. Phil Clarke, who doubled, and DJ Neal, who singled, were left on base.
Nick Fraze started for Vancouver. It was his first time back after getting rest for a tweaked tendon in his elbow. As such, he was limited in his appearance to two innings. In the third, Brian Rapp (L, 0-4) relieved Nick and gave up the Hops first four runs for the loss, including Axel Andueza’s homer.
Axel Andueza and the Efficient Hops
Offense was the highlight of the night. Even though the Canadians outhit their hosts, 10-6, the Hops were much more efficient with their opportunities. They only left three runners behind on base the whole night.
Roman Ruiz scored the first run when he reached on a throwing error by third baseman Ronny Brito that also gave him second. A wild pitch by Rapp sent him to third and beyond. Sensing home, Ruiz didn’t stop. But a throwing error by pitcher Rapp on the play allowed him to score the game’s first run. The same inning saw Dom Canzone walk, steal second and score on Andy Yerzy’s RBI single.
Axel Andueza and his First Homer of Season
The very next inning featured the highlight of Axel Andueza knocking his first home run of the season over the fence. It was also his first since 2017 and the second of his career. Andueza entered the dugout afterwards to a bevy of high fives. Spencer Brickhouse was on base to see it all to provide the other run.
Establishing a pattern, the Hops scored another two runs for the third consecutive inning. This time, Dom Canzone doubled and came home on Andy Yerzy’s sac fly. Tristin English followed with a walk and eventually scored on Eduardo Diaz’ RBI single. To add some spice in the seventh, Jorge Barrosa led off with a double and eventually scored on Dom Canzone’s ground out.
The win kept the Hillsboro Hops (26-35) on pace with league leading Everett who also won tonight. It also increased their lead over Tri City to two and a half games ahead of the team immediately behind them. It also started a two game win streak for the Hops. The loss dropped the Vancouver Canadians (31-32) to ten games behind Everett and gave Spokane a chance to climb to within two games behind them.
The Hops take a 2-1 series lead halfway through the week. Both teams meet Friday night for game#4 that will also include fireworks afterwards. If you can’t make the game in person, you can watch it on MiLB.tv, listen on 620 AM radio or follow me on Twitter for half inning updates throughout the game. You can find my Twitter handle below