Brandon Pfaadt Pitches Complete Game Shutout, Hops Over Canadians 2-0
Brandon Pfaadt (W, 2-2) pitched the first complete game for the Hops since 2015 and the fourth in their short history. The other two complete games came in 2013, their first year in existence. Throwing 90 pitches over nine innings, Brandon Pfaadt led the Hillsboro Hops to victory over the Vancouver Canadians, 2-0.
Brandon Pfaadt Meets Toughest Hurdle Early
In complete control, Pfaadt started the game throwing nine pitches and retiring the side in order in the first. The second inning proved to be his most troubled. Throwing 14 pitches, his highest for one inning in the night, Brandon allowed his first hit – a one out double to Ryan Gold. In short order, Pfaadt retired the next two batters on ground outs to second baseman Leodany Perez.
The next three innings featured 1-2-3 outings facing the minimum nine batters over that stretch and using only 27 pitches. Starting pitchers try to finish at least five innings since that qualifies them for the potential win of the game. By the time Brandon finished the fifth, he had thrown only 50 pitches and had plenty of gas in the tank to continue.
The sixth saw Brandon’s second and third hits given up and a threat to score. But, his team’s defense struck pure gold in saving the shutout. With two outs, Canadian Rafael Lantigua doubled. Tanner Morris sent the next pitch to left for a single and Lantigua started barreling home for Vancouver’s first score of the night. However, he didn’t count on left fielder Eduardo Diaz having an arm that could throw him out. The ball sailed over Lantigua’s head and straight to catcher Andy Yerzy in plenty of time to tag Lantigua standing up.
Brandon Pfaadt Gets Past Second Hurdle
The seventh inning featured another three-up, three-down inning for Brandon. The eight had a two-out single by Eric Rivera that turned out to be Pfaadt’s fourth and final hit allowed for the night. Rivera watched the rest of the inning from first as Zac Cook flew out to center fielder Jorge Barrosa. That left the ninth and final inning for Brandon’s complete game.
Entering the ninth having thrown only 77 pitches, Brandon used five more to get Lantigua to ground out to Leodany Perez. For the night, Perez fielded four grounders for force outs without an error. That is not including a crisp double play that beat out a speedy Luis De Los Santos at first. Brandon needed another seven pitches to strike out pesky Tanner Morris who singled his previous time at the plate.
That left Sebastion Espino for the final out and Brandon had already thrown 89 pitches. But, all Pfaadt needed was that 90th pitch to get Espino to pop up to second baseman Perez. Game over. The first complete game since 2015 was now in the books.
Hops Two-Run Second
But, it would have all gone to naught if not for the second inning. While Pfaadt was having his toughest hurdle in his half of the inning, Hops’ bats were giving it even worse to Canadian pitcher Paxton Schultz (L, 3-2) in their half.
The Hops pulsed at the plate, alternating hits with strikeouts. First off, Eduardo Diaz led off with a single and took second on a throwing error by third baseman Sebastion Espino. Then Schultz tossed his second K of the night. Reece Hampton followed with his RBI single bringing Diaz home for the game’s first run scored. Schultz followed with his third strikeout of the night.
Dom Canzone belted a double, scoring Hampton for the game’s second and final run of the night. Schultz ended with his fourth strikeout of the night. The Hops managed seven hits on the night but no Hops batter had more than one hit.
The win helped the Hillsboro Hops (25-35) gain ground on league leading Everett who lost tonight. The Hops also gained ground on the team above them, Spokane, who are now only two games above the Hops. The loss maintained the nine game deficit the Vancouver Canadians (31-31) have below Everett and they lost ground on Eugene who are now five and a half games ahead of Vancouver.
Both teams meet again for game#3 Thursday night. You can watch the game on MiLB.tv or Roots Sports, listen on 620 AM radio or follow me on Twitter for half inning updates. My Twitter handle is below.