Nate Pecota had a hit and scored a run in Victoria’s heartbreaking loss to Portland Saturday night. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story by Josh Kozelj 

BOXSCORE

PORTLAND, Oregon — One night after blowing two separate leads, the Victoria HarbourCats (10-7) squandered yet another late lead in a 3-2 loss to the Portland Pickles at Walker Stadium.

Starting pitcher Jack Hyde did all he could to ensure the HarbourCats wouldn’t leave their first ever trip to the City of Roses empty handed with a masterful two-hit performance on the mound.

Making his second start of the year, Hyde, a native of La Mesa, California, followed up his seven strikeout and one run debut last week in Kelowna with a dazzling quality start tonight—he finished the evening with five strikeouts, allowed only a single walk, and scattered two hits across six innings.

Victoria didn’t trail until the eighth, and the righty was able to get some run support from the high octane HarbourCats offence immediately in the first.

Following a Nick Plaia walk, Kyle Harper boomed a one out triple to the gap that scored his teammate and gave the HarbourCats the early lead.

The game remained scoreless for the next three innings, as a pitching duel began to unfold. Hyde was countered by the Pickles’ Joel Casillas, and after the rocky first, retired nine of the next eleven batters before Victoria pounced on a Pickles reliever in the fifth.

Titus Groeneweg was brought in out of the bullpen for Casillas to begin the frame, but was greeted by a Nate Pectota double and Plaia sacrifice fly that doubled Victoria’s lead to 2-0.

Manager Todd Haney summoned Calvin Turchin in the sixth, and the righty from the University of Hawaii made sure the HarbourCats wouldn’t miss a beat after their starter exited. Turchin held Portland hitless in the seventh, but fell victim to a resilient group of Pickles in the home half of the eighth.

Portland would send seven batters to the plate in the fateful eighth inning, and scored three times in the inning to take their first lead of the night.

In the ninth, looking to respond, the HarbourCats had their 5-6-7 hitters due up in the order, but went down quietly. Portland closer Connor Thurman was brought into the game, and retired the ‘Cats heavy hitters in order to clinch the series and their second straight victory over Victoria.

The loss dropped the HarbourCats one game behind the North-division leading Bellingham Bells—who won earlier in the night in Bend. After scoring 39 total runs in a three game set against the Elks earlier in the week, Victoria has mustered a total of seven runs in the first two games of this series.

Victoria will look to respond and find their bats again in the series finale tomorrow evening, Cade Smith is scheduled to get the start. First pitch is at 5:05p.m.

 

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