The 2023 edition of the Tacoma Rainiers have officially opened the season with a winning homestand. Friday night’s doubleheader sweep of the Reno Aces improved the team’s record to 4-0 on the opening homestand, clinching a win of the six-game series with two games yet to be played.
The Rainiers won the first game dramatically. Jake Scheiner’s three-run homer in the first inning helped the club carry a 4-3 lead into the seventh and final inning, but Reno took advantage of some walks to push the tying run across the plate. But in the bottom of the seventh the Rainiers put two men on base for Triple-A rookie Zach DeLoach.
DeLoach ripped a three-run game-winning homer off Reno reliever Mitchell Stumpo, giving the Rainiers a 7-4 victory. It was DeLoach’s first Triple-A home run.
Zach DeLoach WALKOFF 3-run HR! pic.twitter.com/VEFrDELiVF
— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) April 8, 2023
The celebration was subdued, as there was another game starting in thirty minutes.
Game Two was a more methodical victory. Making his second start in the Mariners organization, right-hander Easton McGee pitched six innings and allowed just three hits and one run. After allowing two hits and a run in the first inning, McGee settled into a groove in which he induced a boatload of harmless fly balls easily caught by Rainiers outfielders.
The Rainiers took control of the game with a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth inning. Zach DeLoach had an RBI single, and Mike Ford contributed his daily RBI with a two-run single through the right side of the infield.
The Rainiers hit two homers in the twinbill, both of which were three-run shots in the first game. The team’s home run breakdown for the season is interesting.
Tacoma has hit 13 home runs in seven games – that’s the second highest total among the 30 Triple-A teams. Of the 13 home runs, only three have come with nobody on base. Another three have been two-run blasts. And… this is amazing… seven of the 13 homers have been three-run shots.
Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver said it long ago: “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three-run homers.”
YESTERDAY: Tacoma swept a doubleheader from the Reno Aces. Zach DeLoach‘s first Triple-A home run was a three-run walk-off shot to win the first game, 7-4. Tacoma took the second game 5-2 behind a strong pitching performance from starter Easton McGee. The Rainiers have won four straight games.
TODAY: Reno Aces (2-5) at Tacoma Rainiers (5-2), 6:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Blake Lalli.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 4-0.
PITCHERS: RHP Brandon Pfaadt (0-1, 12.27) at RHP Taylor Dollard (0-0, 4.50)
A pitching prospect battle right here. Pfaadt is the Arizona Diamondbacks top starting pitching prospect, and Dollard is making his second Triple-A start after winning the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award last season while at Double-A Arkansas.
Anyone like Parliament? I can’t get it out of my head. “Make my faadt the p-faadt…”
ROSTER MOVES: We haven’t had any in a few days now.
HOT HITTERS: Brian O’Keefe has a six-game hitting streak, with four homers and 11 RBI during the streak… Mike Ford has hit safely in all six games he has played in, has driven in at least one run in all six, and has three homers…. Jose Caballero has reached base in 15 of his 20 plate appearances, for a .750 OBP… Mason McCoy has reached base safely in all seven games… Delino DeShields has reached base safely in all five games he has played in… as a team, Tacoma leads Triple-A Baseball with 64 runs scored, a .320 batting average and a .467 on-base percentage.
OPPONENT NEWS: The defending PCL Champions opened the season by taking two-of-three from rival Las Vegas in a high-scoring home series… Blake Lalli returns as Reno manager after stepping away last year to work in player development… Diego Castillo went 5-for-5 on opening day Friday and has a six-game hitting streak… starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt is the highest-rated prospect on the Reno roster… reliever Anthony Misiewicz and infielder Jake Hager are the former Rainiers on the Reno roster.
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.
- The Mariners got a much-needed win in Cleveland on Friday as Julio Rodriguez hit a go-ahead homer in a 5-3 decision.
- J.P. Crawford had a big game yesterday. Also in the notebook, injury updates on Taylor Trammell and Dylan Moore. Sounds like we could have some rehabbers with the club on the upcoming road trip to Round Rock.
- In the PCL, Salt Lake Bees starter Chase Silseth, who is a New Mexico native, dominated the Albuquerque Isotopes in a 15-2 wipeout. The last time Silseth pitched at Isotopes Park it was in the state high school baseball tournament.
- After some initial trepidation, former Cleveland Guardians prospect Nolan Jones is embracing a new life with the Isotopes.