EVERETT — Facing Toronto Blue Jays’ 2017 first-round pick Nate Pearson on Thursday night, the Everett AquaSox were simply outmatched.
The Canadians’ 6-foot-6 right-hander used his 90-plus mph-fastball to leave the Frogs hitless through four, and reliever Travis Bergen kept the pitching dominance going as Everett suffered a 3-1 loss at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Everett rallied in the bottom of the ninth, scoring its lone run on a Chris Torres homer, but Onil Pena, with the game-tying run at second base, struck out swinging to end the game.
Everett (14-15 second half, 31-16 overall) will conclude its three-game stint with Vancouver Friday night.
A night after recording only four hits in a 3-1 win, Everett only managed three hits in Thursday’s loss. Torres was responsible for two of those, and Eugene Helder, who made a fantastic defensive play in the fourth inning, had the AquaSox’s only other base knock.
The Frogs didn’t advance a runner past first base until Torres’ ninth-inning solo shot.
While Everett’s bats struggled, its defense made several impressive plays to keep the game close.
Austin Grebeck saved a run in the top of the second. After fielding a single up the middle, Grebeck threw a one-hop strike to home to cut down Vancouver’s Samad Taylor, who was trying to score from second.
Vancouver’s Deiferson Barreto led off the top of the third with a triple down the right-field line and came around to score on a Reggie Pruitt RBI groundout to give the Canadians a 1-0 lead.
Everett starting pitcher Brian McAfee kept the AquaSox in the game with a strong outing. The right-hander threw 52⁄3 innings and gave up only one run while scattering seven hits before Michael Rivera relieved him in the top of the sixth with two outs and two on.
Torres broke up Vancouver’s no-hit bid with a hard liner into left field with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Riley Adams extended the Canadians’ lead to 2-0 in the top of the eighth with a two-out, RBI triple to right-center. Brock Lundquist followed with another two-out hit, driving in Adams from third with an RBI single that put Vancouver in front 3-0.
Everett finally got its offense going in the ninth off Vancouver closer Orlando Pascual. Grebeck drew a walk following Torres’ homer. Helder followed with a single, and a groundout moved the runners to second and third with two outs. But Pena couldn’t come up with the clutch base hit the Frogs needed.