TACOMA, Wash. - The Tacoma Rainiers fell behind 2-1 in the Pacific Conference Championship Series after a 7-0 shutout loss to the El Paso Chihuahuas on Friday night at Cheney Stadium.
Tacoma managed just three hits on the night, coming from shortstop Tyler Smith (double), left fielder James Ramsey (double), and third baseman Zach Shank (single).
Manuel Margot led off the contest with a walk and came around to score three batters later on an RBI double off the bat of Austin Hedges, giving the Chihuahuas an early 1-0 lead.
El Paso tacked on three more runs in the top of the second on a two-run home run from Jose Rondon and a fielding error by the Rainiers.
With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Nick Noonan swatted a solo home run over the right field wall to push the Chihuahuas advantage out to 5-0. Margot followed with a double and was brought home on an RBI single from Carlos Asuaje that made El Paso's lead 6-0.
The Chihuahuas pushed across one final run in the top of the ninth inning, creating the final margin of 7-0. A single from Rondon and a double off the bat of Noonan set up an RBI single punched into right field from Asuaje.
Tacoma loaded the bases twice on the night, once in the second inning with one out and again in the fifth inning with two outs, but couldn't bring a runner across the plate.
Rainiers starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc worked 5.0 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits. He took the loss while issuing one walk and striking out six.
Forrest Snow, Mayckol Guaipe, and Kraig Sitton represented the Rainiers bullpen, combining to allow three runs on seven hits over 4.0 innings - the trio struck out four batters.
Tacoma and El Paso move on to game four of the Pacific Conference Championship Series tomorrow, Saturday, September 10. The Rainiers, facing elimination, will turn to right-hander Joe Wieland (14-6, 5.43), while the Chihuahuas go to righty Dinelson Lamet (0-2, 4.22). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the Rainiers 2016 home playoff dates can be purchased by visiting the Cheney Stadium Box Office, calling 1-800-745-300, or by visiting www.tacomarainiers.com. 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.