Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 28, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria HarbourCats scored nine runs in the first four innings and Griffin Andreychuk had two home runs and a six-RBI evening to lead the ‘Cats to a 15-4 win over the Cowlitz Black Bears Tuesday night in West Coast League baseball action at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Victoria second baseman Griffin Andreychuk (centre) had quite a night with two home runs and six RBIs to lead Victoria to a 15-4 win over Cowlitz (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The ‘Cats started the long ball game early with a four-run first inning, punctuated by a three-run home run to right by catcher Jackson Thoreson. They would add two more in the second and two more in the third, with the long-ball again playing a role as Kevin Collard laced a second inning triple, while PJ Floyd stroked a two-run homer in the third.
Victoria got their offence started early thanks to a 3-run home run by Jackson Thoreson (left) in the first and a triple from Kevin Collard (right), who would then score, in the second (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Griffin Andreychuk then caught fire, adding a solo shot in the fourth, an RBI single in the sixth and a three-run blast to left in the seventh that put the game out of reach. Andreychuk had a night to remember finishing with six RBIs, two home runs and four runs scored, easily deserving of the player of the game honours.
AJ Alcantara (left) and Griffin Andreychuk (right) congratulate Jackson Thoreson (28) as he comes home after hitting his first inning home run (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Cowlitz used the long ball themselves to try and stay close, as Ryan Aguilar went deep in the top of the first inning to give Cowlitz a short-lived lead, while Sean Sutton hit a right field bomb in the fifth to make the score 9-3 at the time. They added another run in the top of the eighth, but that would be as close as they would come.
In addition to their four home runs, the HarbourCats had 11 other hits on the night with Chase Lambert quietly hitting three singles from the nine spot, while Collard and Floyd had two hits each.
Cowlitz baserunner Hank LoForte is a dead duck as Victoria second baseman Griffin Andreychuk waits to tag him out when he tried to stretch a second inning single into a double (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Almost lost in all the offence was a stellar pitching performance by Fresno State RHP Dominic Topoozian, who gave the HarbourCats another solid outing, going a full seven innings and giving up two earned runs on four hits and one walk, while striking out five. It was the sixth time this season Topoozian has gone seven or more innings in a start. Mikey Wright (Delta College) and Brett Irvine, a Victoria Mariners product making his WCL debut, each pitched an inning to close it.
Same old same old for Dominic Topoozian who pitched a quality game into the seventh inning for the sixth time this season, earning his fourth win of the year (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For Cowlitz, starter Cal Neeley lasted just two and a third innings, giving up eight runs on six hits, while walking four. Four other Cowlitz pitchers saw action giving up seven runs on nine hits.
The win improves the HarbourCats record to 21-21 and moves them to within 5.5. games of Bellingham in the West and 2.5 games behind Corvallis for the wild card spot, but in a dogfight with Yakima, Walla Walla and Wenatchee who are all also in contention for that wild card spot with similar records.
PJ Floyd would go opposite field for this 2-run home run in the third inning Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Cowlitz drops their sixth straight to fall to 17-26 on the season.
Game Notes: With his three hits tonight, Chase Lambert has quietly hit the .300 mark and moved into second overall in team batting behind Andreychuk (.364). PJ Floyd and Kevin Collard are now tied for the home run lead with four each. The HarbourCats officially announced the release of Jonathan Buckley, Alex Rogers and Josh Mitchell today. To fill the gaps, the team has signed Victoria Mariner products Jason Willow, Nick Seginowich, and Brett Irvine, as well as RHP Calvin Christiansen (Glendale College), and RHP Shawn Anderson (Burnaby Collegiate summer program).
When he wasn’t hitting home runs or knocking in runs, Griffin Andreychuk was kind enough to give a helping hand to this young Mascot race contestant (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)