The Fresno Grizzlies (2-0) defeated the El Paso Chihuahuas (0-2) 7-5 in game two of the PCL Pacific Championship Thursday night from Southwest University Park. With the win, Fresno took a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Behind 15 hits, the Grizzlies improved to 34-8 on the road when supplying 10 or more hits. Fresno also won their fourth straight game in El Paso, going all the way back to their 2015 title run.
Grizzlies starter Trent Thornton (1-0, win) tossed five strong innings. He allowed one run (earned) on seven hits, two free passes and nine punchouts. The first seven recorded outs by Thornton were via the strikeout. In three starts this year against El Paso, he has fanned 20 batters in 14 and two-thirds frames while notching a 1.84 earned run average.
Fresno lurched ahead 2-0 in the top of the second. Jamie Ritchie smacked a ground-rule double to left, switching places with Drew Ferguson (2-for-4). Then, Ritchie came around to score on a sharp single up the middle by Myles Straw.
Nick Tanielu (3-for-5) made it 3-0 in the visitor's half of the fifth when he snuck a homer down the right field line. It was his second clout of the series and he also lengthened his current team-high hit streak to 12 games (regular and post season).
After giving up one more hit, Chihuahuas lefty Logan Allen (0-1, loss) was taken out of the contest. He lasted four and one-third innings, scattering 10 hits, three runs (earned), one walk and four whiffs.
El Paso trimmed the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Ty France (4-for-5) laced a single to center, plating Javy Guerra. The Grizzlies extended the advantage to 4-1 in the top of the sixth when Alex De Goti clobbered a solo shot to left field. It was his first big fly of the postseason.
In the bottom of the seventh, France's fourth single of the night knocked in Forrestt Allday, cutting the deficit to 4-2. A three-run top of the ninth broke open the margin to 7-2 Fresno. Tanielu stroked a single to center, inching Kyle Tucker (2-for-4) home. Tucker has reached base safely in 12 of his last 13 contests, including playoffs. Finally, Garrett Stubbs (1-for-2) yanked a single into right, bringing in a pair.
Down by five in the bottom of the ninth, the Chihuahuas nipped away at the score. France's third RBI of the evening came on a groundout. He and Carlos Asuaje raced to the plate on a Brett Nicholas (2-for-5) double to right. Brendan McCurry stopped the bleeding with a lineout to conclude a 7-5 victory.
Riley Ferrell hurled another scoreless outing in consecutive nights while Derek Fisher collected three hits for the Grizzlies.
Both squads continue the PCL Pacific Championship series with game three Friday evening from Chukchansi Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PT. Fresno RHP Rogelio Armenteros (0-0, 0.00) and El Paso fellow righty Cal Quantrill (0-0, 0.00) are the probable matchup.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.