SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Newly-acquired infielder Dan Vogelbach fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle while powering the Tacoma Rainiers (56-42) to series-opening 8-3 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (47-50) on Friday night at Smith’s Ballpark.
In his first game with Tacoma, Vogelbach contributed a 3-for-3 performance with a solo home run, an RBI double, a single, and a walk – he drove in two runs and scored once. Left fielder Stefen Romero (3×5) checked in with two home runs, ultimately driving in three runs and scoring three more.
Second baseman Daniel Robertson (2×5) and Zach Shank (3×4) also contributed multiple-hit outings as the Rainiers combined for 14 base hits.
Vogelbach put the Rainiers on the board with a solo home run in the top of the second inning – it marked the first time a Tacoma player homered in their first at-bat with the club since Carlos Rivero on April 9, 2015 in El Paso.
Kaleb Cowart quickly tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run of his own to lead off the Salt Lake half of the second inning.
Tacoma jumped out to a 6-1 lead with a five-run outburst in the top of the third inning, highlighted by a two-run home run from Romero. Robertson checked in with an RBI single, while Vogelbach doubled in a run and center fielder Guillermo Heredia lifted a sacrifice fly to round out the scoring.
Singles from Romero and Vogelbach in the top of the fifth inning put a runner on third base with one out for right fielder Ryan Strausborger, who lifted sacrifice fly to extend the Rainiers lead to 7-1.
Romero blasted his second home run of the night, a solo shot to left field, to move the Rainiers advantage out to 8-1 in the top of the sixth inning.
Salt Lake tacked on two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning off Tacoma reliever Andrew Kittredge, creating the final margin of 8-3.
Tacoma starting pitcher Joe Wieland (8-5) held the Bees to just one run on six hits over 6.0 innings, with his only blemish being a solo home run in the second inning. He walked one and struck out five on the way to earning his eighth win of the year.
Kraig Sitton turned in two perfect innings in relief of Wieland, lowering his season ERA with Tacoma to 2.15.
Tacoma will turn to right-hander Zach Lee (0-2, 5.44) as they continue their series with Salt Lake tomorrow, Saturday, July 23. The Bees will hand the ball to lefty Chris Jones (3-8, 7.71). First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. PT.
All tickets, group outings and suites packages for the 2016 season are available for purchase in-person at the Cheney Stadium Box Office, online at www.tacomarainiers.com, or over the phone at (253) 752-7707. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Rainiers throughout the season can be found by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand) or liking the team on Facebook.