TACOMA, Wash. – Six runs over the first two innings helped propel the Tacoma Rainiers (13-8) to a 7-4 victory over the Sacramento River Cats (7-15) on Saturday night at Cheney Stadium.
Third baseman Mike Freeman (2×4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI), first baseman D.J. Peterson (2×3, 2 R, BB), and designated hitter Dario Pizzano (2×4, R, HR, 3 RBI) all collected multiple hits for the Rainiers. Pizzano, Freeman, and shortstop Tyler Smith all checked in with home runs to fuel the offensive effort.
Rainiers starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio (1-3) earned his first win of the year after allowing three runs on 10 hits over 5.1 innings of work. He issued two walks and struck out one along the way.
A trio of early home runs provided the Rainiers with a 6-0 cushion, which they would not surrender. Smith got things started with a solo home run to left field in the Rainiers second at-bat of the night – it was his first dinger of the year. Pizzano followed four batters later with his first long ball of the season, a three-run shot well beyond the wall in right field.
Freeman joined the party in the bottom of the second inning, lining a two-run shot into left field to extend the Rainiers lead to 6-0 – like his two teammates before him, it was Freeman’s first home run of the season.
Orlando Calixte roped a solo home run to left field in the top of the third inning to give the River Cats their first run and cut the Rainiers lead to 6-1. Calixte and Kyle Blanks both collected RBI singles in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, to pull Sacramento within three runs of Tacoma at 6-3. Another solo home run off the bat of Calixte in the top of the seventh, this time to right field, brought the score to 6-4.
Right fielder Zach Shank pushed across the Rainiers final run of the game with an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving Tacoma the 7-4 advantage.
Reliever Emilio Pagan worked the final 2.0 innings for Tacoma without allowing a single baserunner, striking out four and earning his first save of the season.
Game four of the five-game set between the Rainiers and River Cats is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. PT. Tacoma will throw right-hander Chris Heston (1-0, 3.18) against Sacramento righty Tyler Beede (1-0, 4.29).
All tickets, group outings and suites packages for the 2017 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.