Shutout keeps C's slim playoff hopes alive

By CJ Pentland / Vancouver Canadians | July 19, 2013 3:57 PM ET

(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, BC) - The Vancouver Canadians received stellar pitching on Friday afternoon at Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, scoring four early runs early and keeping their first-half playoff hopes alive with a 4-0 win over the Eugene Emeralds.

The C's only real offensive production came in the second inning when they scored three runs off of Eugene starter RHP Bryan Verbitsky. After C Michael Reeves and RF Brenden Kalfus led off the inning with a pair of singles, they were moved over on a sacrifice bunt. DH David Harris then hit an infield single to third base that scored Reeves, but a throwing error allowed Kalfus to score and Harris to move to third. Harris then tallied on a sacrifice fly by SS Dickie Thon to make it 3-0.

The lead was pushed to four in the next inning when the C's strung together three hits off of Verbitsky. 3B Justin Atkinson, 2B Christian Vasquez and Kalfus all hit singles in the frame, with Vasquez's hit brining home Atkinson. Kalfus went 4-for-4 on the afternoon, hitting four singles.

Vancouver had several other chances to break the game wide open, but they could never come up with a timely hit, leaving 11 runners on base in the contest.

C's pitching didn't need much run support on the afternoon, though, as the Emeralds could never muster any momentum on offence. LHP Colton Turner picked up the win after allowing four hits over five scoreless innings, and LHP Alonzo Gonzalez and RHP Matt Johnson followed out of the bullpen to complete the shutout. It was the third time this season that Vancouver pitchers combined to hold their opponent scoreless.

With the win, Vancouver improves to 21-14 (.600) on the 2013 season and currently sits 1.5 games back of Everett for the Northwest League North division lead with Everett still to play on Friday. A first place finish in the first half would guarantee the Canadians a playoff berth in September. With the loss, the Emeralds drop their sixth straight game and fall to 11-24 (.314).

Game three of this five-game set against Eugene goes tomorrow evening at 7:05 pm. Tickets to tomorrow's Fireworks Extravaganza Night are sold out, but there are limited tickets available to the A&W Family Fun Sunday and Monday's game. They can be purchased by calling 604.872.5232 or by visiting the Nat Bailey Stadium Box Office at 4601 Ontario Street. 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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