TACOMA, Wash. – The Tacoma Rainiers (61-44) and El Paso Chihuahuas (60-46) split a doubleheader on Thursday night at Cheney Stadium. The Chihuahuas took the opening contest 5-3, while the Rainiers closed out the night with a 5-4 win.
Tacoma’s Daniel Robertson went a combined 3-for-7 with one run and three RBI, while also notching two doubles in the pair of games to lead the Rainiers offense.
The Rainiers ventured on to the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Stefen Romero smacked a two-out double down the left field line and came around to score on a single from Dan Vogelbach, giving the Tacoma the 1-0 lead.
El Paso answered with five runs in the top of the fifth inning, highlighted by a one-out grand slam to right field off the bat of Hector Sanchez, giving the Chihuahuas the 5-1 advantage.
Tacoma responded with two runs in the home half of the fifth inning on a single to centerfield from Tyler Smith to score Rob Brantly, followed by another single to centerfield plating Zach Shank, cutting El Paso’s lead to two runs at 5-3.
Starting pitcher Zach Lee took his third loss with the Rainiers this season after tossing 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, while striking out three and walking two.
Tacoma returned the favor in game two, utilizing a four-run fourth inning to propel the club to the 5-4 victory.
The Rainiers quickly took the lead in game two with a run in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI groundout to first base from Dan Vogelbach to score Robertson, giving Tacoma the 1-0 lead.
El Paso gained the lead with four runs in the top of the fourth inning, sending nine batters to the plate in the process. Taylor Lindsey lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Hunter Renfroe, then Auston Bousfield lined a double down the left field line to score Sanchez and Diego Goris. Margot followed two batters later with a double into the right-center field gap scoring Bousfield, giving the Chihuahuas the 4-1 advantage.
Tacoma took back the lead with four runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Patrick Kivlehan singled home Brantly and a wild pitch by Chihuahuas righty Bryan Rodriguez enabled Shank to score from third base. Robertson then smashed a one-out, two-run double down the left field line to plate Pizzano and Kivlehan, making it 5-4 in favor of the Rainiers.
Starting pitcher Donn Roach held the Chihuahuas to four runs on six hits over 3.2 innings of work – he issued no walks and struck out three.
Andrew Kittredge and Blake Parker combined to work the final 3.1 innings for Tacoma, holding El Paso scoreless run on one hit, while issuing two walks and striking out five. Parker secured his 18 save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
The Rainiers and Chihuahuas finish up the series tomorrow, Friday July 29. Tacoma will send right-hander Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 5.40) to the mound in the finale, while El Paso will counter with lefty Frank Garces (4-4, 5.10). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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.