Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 6, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Kelowna Falcons scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning and then cruised to an easy 5-2 win over the Victoria HarbourCats in West Coast League action Friday night in front of 3,033 fans at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Although he would be safe, as Kelowna second baseman Matt Hearn (left) did not have the ball, Victoria’s Brady Rogers would get a helmet full of glove for his efforts (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win avenges the Falcons 9-2 loss to Victoria on Friday and sets up the deciding game in the series that will be played on Sunday in a 1:05 PM matinee start. The winner of that game will claim the inaugural Accent Inn Cup, a new award that will be presented to the winner of the series between the two teams each season.
Kelowna starter Tyler Gillies had a good outing, giving up just two runs on five hits, while striking out five in his six innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
HarbourCats starter Mikey Wright (Delta College), who is coming off a redshirt season at school due to an injury, showed the effects of making just his second start in a year, struggling with his control early, walking three and giving up a wild pitch and a single in the top of the first, all of which helped spot the Falcons to a pair of runs before the HarbourCats even came to the plate.
Victoria shortstop PJ Floyd gets set to complete a double play in the late goings of the ‘Cats 5-2 loss to the Falcons (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Wright was able to get out of the inning without any further damage and while he had a scoreless second and scoreless, but shaky third, he was replaced in the top of the fourth by reliever Josh Walker (Grand Canyon).
The HarbourCats offence meanwhile, went somewhat quiet, struggling to find a way to score off Kelowna starter Tyler Gillies. They did manage to push across a run in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI single from Matt Bryan (MacPherson College) and another in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single from Evan Willow (MacPherson College), but that would be all the damage the HarbourCats could do, as Gillies would scatter five hits and strike out five before leaving the game after the sixth inning.
Kelowna’s Hunter Villanueva would have a keen eye at the plate Saturday with three hits, including a home run and three RBIs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
At that point the Kelowna offence then provided some insurance runs, scoring a run in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings off the HarbourCats bullpen to put the game out of reach. The Falcons own relief corps also did their job and Andre Jackson and Curtis Taylor would shut the ‘Cats down the rest of the way to close out the win.
The Falcons were led offensively by Hunter Villanueva who had a solid night at the plate with three hits, including a home run, a walk and two RBIs. Justin Flores also had a pair of hits and Ben Gamba contributed a pair of RBIs.
Chris Fougner would have one of the six Victoria hits and score one of their two runs in the 5-2 loss. He now has 10 hits in his five games with the HarbourCats (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For the HarbourCats, PJ Floyd had a pair of hits, as did Willow and Bryan. Chris Fougner also kept his early season hitting streak going with a single, his 10th hit in his five games as a HarbourCat. Brady Rogers had the other HarbourCats hit.
On the mound for the HarbourCats, Josh Walker, Nick Wojtysiak and Sean O’Toole all saw work and each gave up a run on a cumulative six hits in their six innings total of relief.
The HarbourCats and Falcons will have less than 24 hours to recover from Saturday’s game as the teams will hook up in a Sunday afternoon matinee starting at 1:05 PM at RAP. Sean Kennedy II (Georgetown College) will take the mound for the HarbourCats while the Falcons will respond with Elias Bedolla (Ohlone College).
HarbourCats pitcher Josh Walker was effective in long relief Saturday, giving up a run on two hits over three innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Vancouver native Jovan Ewusie (Cochise College) has signed a 10-day contract with the HarbourCats and made his debut tonight, going 0 for 2 with a walk. After a solid game Friday, Dane Fujinaka (Sacramento State) had a tough night, going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts. Preston Ryan (New Mexico), a returnee from 2014, is the latest player to arrive in town, making an appearance in the dugout late in Saturday’s game.
Any hopes of a late HarbourCats rally were cut short by this excellent diving catch by Kelowna right fielder Wade Gulden in the bottom of the eighth inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Watch for a full set of images from this game on Christian J. Stewart’s web site at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/harbourcats