The Tacoma Rainiers showed a lot of resilience on Friday night in Las Vegas, only to lose in stunning fashion.
Tacoma trailed 5-1 early in the game, but started to chip away at the deficit. The red-hot Sam Haggerty hit an RBI double in the fifth, making it 5-2. Zach Green roped a solo homer in the sixth inning, and it was 5-3. Then Haggerty struck again in the seventh inning, lining a homer to right field to make it 5-4.
During all this time the Rainiers were getting outstanding relief pitching from Austin Warner, Chris Jefferson, and Danny Young.
Tacoma did not score in the top of the eighth, and then Nick Ramirez pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning, so we went to the ninth with the Rainiers trailing by a run.
Facing Las Vegas closer Ryan Castellani, Erick Mejia opened the inning by drawing a walk. Marcus Wilson was next, and he connected in a big way: Wilson launched a mammoth home run to center field, giving the Rainiers a 6-5 lead.
At that point we were just three outs away from what would have been the Rainiers best win of the year. The team had Ramirez and his 0.00 ERA on the hill, just needing one more scoreless inning to put it away. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, it was over quickly. Vimael Machin opened the bottom of the ninth by drawing a walk, and then top prospect Shea Langeliers pulled a game-ending two-run homer to left field, giving Las Vegas the 7-6 win. It was the seventh homer of the season for Langeliers, third-highest total in the league.
The six-game series is now tied, 2-2. Tacoma has not won or split a series yet this year, hopefully the Rainiers can get at least one more win here in Vegas.
YESTERDAY: The Rainiers lost a heartbreaker to Las Vegas, 7-6. Marcus Wilson‘s two-run homer in the top of the ninth gave Tacoma a 6-5 lead, only to see Shea Langeliers win the game for Vegas with a walk-off two run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (7-15) at Las Vegas Aviators (11-11), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
PITCHERS: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (0-3, 9.45) at LHP Jared Koenig (0-2, 3.68)
Koenig is a 28-year-old independent league refugee who is a Triple-A rookie this year.
ROSTER MOVES: The Mariners announced that recently designated infielder Mike Ford has been sold to the San Francisco Giants.
HOT HITTERS: Sam Haggerty has hit safely in nine of his last ten games, totaling 18 hits including four homers, and is 9-for-16 in this series… Stuart Fairchild is 7-for-16 since joining the Rainiers, hitting safely in all four games… Mason McCoy has reached base in eight straight games… Zach Green has a five-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: Las Vegas has played three six-game series and split all three of them, 3-3… Eric Thames has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games. Thames played for Tacoma in 2013 before becoming a huge star in the Korean Baseball Organization… catcher Shea Langeliers is a highly-ranked prospect who was the key return when Oakland traded Matt Olson to Atlanta… Dermis Garcia has a four-game hitting streak; he hit 31 home runs in Double-A last year (with a .210 batting average)… Dalton Kelly hit hit first homer of the year on Sunday, he belted 27 dingers for International League champion Durham last year… Nate Mondou has hit safely in 12 of 15 games this season; the Lake Tapps native went to high school in Tacoma at Charles Wright Academy.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.