Get to know the Tacoma Rainiers
The first eight innings might not have been the Tacoma Rainiers best but the last two were awfully sweet.
Ryan Court homered in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings and then Jake Fraley’s walk-off RBI-single won it for the Rainiers, who rallied to beat the Reno Aces, 5-4, in 10 innings on Sunday at Cheney Stadium.
Trailing by a run entering their last at-bat, Court hit a bases-empty homer to tie it and send the game into extras. Court has now homered in five games in a row.
In the 10th, with Jordan Pacheco starting on second due to extra inning rules, an error by Aces’ first baseman Yasmany Tomas put Pacheco at third. Reno elected to intentionally walk John Andreoli to face Fraley, who easily knocked a ball between first baseman Tomas and second baseman Carlos Asuaje to provide the game-winner.
After a hitless performance in his first two games and nine at-bats of the series, Fraley responded well in the finale after getting Saturday off, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two walks.
“The first games he was a little anxious,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said. “He was swinging at pitches that he doesn’t normally swing at. Sometimes having the day off just to watch and have a mental break helps and get back on course a bit.”
Fraley knocked in Tacoma’s first run in the game with a solo homer in the first, then the Rainiers offense stagnated through the next six innings. But they had their chances.
The Rainiers loaded the bases in two consecutive innings — the fourth and fifth — but couldn’t score.
“We ended up getting a few hits but we had a lot of opportunities early on that we gave away,” Brown said. “But we overcame it.”
While the Rainiers struggled with runners in scoring position, Reno made their move on Tacoma starter Jon Niese, who allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. Niese made it through at least five innings for the sixth consecutive game, and struck out four.
Tacoma’s break came in the seventh, as Tim Lopes’ two-run single after Andrieoli and Fraley got on base. The Rainiers again loaded the bases later in the seventh, but a groundout from Jordan Pacheco ended the threat.
In a strong relief performance, Tyler Cloyd pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three.
The Rainiers will be back in action Monday against Las Vegas at 7:05 p.m. at Cheney Stadium.