TACOMA, Wash. – The Tacoma Rainiers season ended on Saturday night with a 5-4 loss to the El Paso Chihuahuas in game four of the Pacific Conference Championship Series at Cheney Stadium.
The loss eliminated Tacoma, the 2016 Pacific Northern Division Champions, from the postseason, while the Chihuahuas advance to the PCL Championship Series.
Catcher Rob Brantly led the way for the Rainiers on offense, finishing the night 3-for-4 with one RBI. Designated hitter Stefen Romero (2×4) chipped in with a multi-hit performance of his own and a solo home run.
Center fielder Daniel Robertson kicked things off for Tacoma with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning – he moved to third and came around to score on back-to-back groundouts to second by second baseman Mike Freeman and first baseman Dan Vogelbach.
El Paso quickly answered, tying the game at 1-1 in the top of the second. Hunter Renfroe led off the frame with a single and came around to score three batters later on an RBI groundout to shortstop.
Tacoma jumped back out in front with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning. Vogelbach and Brantly both brought in runs with RBI single to put Tacoma on top, 3-1.
The Chihuahuas chipped into the Rainiers lead on an RBI single from Diego Goris in the fourth – Renfroe led off the inning with a double, setting up the run-scoring base knock that cut Tacoma’s lead to 3-2.
Romero pushed the Rainiers cushion out to 4-2 with a two-out, solo home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was Tacoma’s first and only home run of the postseason.
After a two-out RBI single from Carlos Asuaje pulled El Paso within one run in the top of the seventh, Hunter Renfroe blasted a two-run, go-ahead home run in the top of the eighth to give the Chihuahuas a 5-4 victory.
Rainiers starting pitcher Joe Wieland allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits over 6.2 innings of work – he issued no walks and struck out five.
The Rainiers finished the 2016 regular season with a record of 81-62 and earned their first division title since 2010. It was the club’s first 80-win season since 2008.