Chihuahuas snag first win of the series against Tacoma
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Only six pitches into the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied at three, the Chihuahuas’ first baseman Jamie Romak drilled the go-ahead homerun for his team to overcome the visiting Tacoma Rainiers 4-3 on April 18.
“I saw the left fielder’s reaction and I thought he had just camped under my hit and then I could kind of see it come back and thank god it went over the wall. We had a great meeting today before the game on how we were going to attack this guy (Tacoma’s starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio), we just saw hit up in Tacoma. He got the best of us early nut we stook to our game plan,” Romak said. “When I saw it go over the fence I was happy it won us the game.”
In front of a crowd of 6,105, the Chihuahuas improved to 6-7 (4-2 at home) on the season after losing six out of their last eight games. The Rainiers, on the other end, fell to 7-5 and the loss ended their five-game win streak.
At the top of the third inning, Tacoma struck first with a two-hit inning, which eventually got their shortstop Tyler Smith to cross the plate to make it 1-0 in favor of the away team. El Paso was 1-6 before tonight’s game when their opponents scored first.
And the stat looked to stand true once again as the Rainiers opened up the top of the fifth inning with a leadoff homerun over the left field, courtesy of Tacoma’s first baseman D.J. Peterson. One batter later, Tacoma’s Smith earned his second hit of the day with a double.
Still with no outs in the inning, El Paso’s starting pitcher Matt Magill got three outs in a row after his rocky start to the top of the fifth inning. The Chihuahuas escaped with only a 2-0 deficit despite Smith threatening at third base after he successfully stole a base.
However, the Chihuahuas responded with their largest scoring inning of the game in the bottom of the fifth. El Paso got their crowd up from their seats with a triple by the designated hitter Jabari Bush, a double by Romak, an RBI single by the left fielder Rafael Ortega and one last single by Rocky Gale for a three-run inning on four hits.
The home team went up 3-2 after a wild pitch by Tacoma’s starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio to drive in the third run.
But, when Kevin Quackenbush, the Chihuahua’s reliever for Magill, stepped on the mound in the top of the sixth inning, he quickly gave up the lead his bullpen built.
The first two batters into Quackenbush’s day, Tacoma’s second baseman Gordan Beckham knocked Quackenbush’s pitch out of the park for the Rainiers’ second home run of the day. The scoreboard read 3-3 from there.
Quickly after, Quackenbush finally retired one of the batters in the sixth and had a little help from his defense with a double-play after to get them out on a tied game.
With the game up for grabs, Romak stepped up to the plate and hit the dagger in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Chihuahuas failed to extend their lead in the same inning when the reigning 2016 PCL Rookie of the Year Carlos Asuaje was up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. Instead of gaining insurance runs for his team, Asuaje left three batters stranded to end the inning.
Nevertheless, the Chihuahuas built themselves a lead that would last until to come out victorious despite the early deficit to win their first game back on their home field in seven games.
The Chihuahuas outhit the Rainiers 8-6 and showed poise on the mound. Carter Capps came in during the last inning to pick up the win to take game one of the three-game series.
“Coming off a rough and cold road trip, it was nice coming home and getting El Paso weather. We had a couple of rough games pitching before, but I still think pitching is going to be the backbone to our season. They did a great job today. Magill did really well today,” Chihuahuas Manager Rod Barajas said.