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Rainiers' Nola collects four extra-base hits

Red-hot catcher homers twice, doubles twice in PCL slugfest
Austin Nola has multiple hits in five of his 10 games this season, including two four-hit performances. (Jeff Halstead/Tacoma Rainiers)
April 17, 2019

Austin Nola entered the season with a career OPS well under .700. After Wednesday's performance, his OPS sits at 1.467 through 10 games this year.The Mariners farmhand collected four extra-base hits, including a pair of homers, in Triple-A Tacoma's 11-10 loss to El Paso at Southwest University Park. Nola went

Austin Nola entered the season with a career OPS well under .700. After Wednesday's performance, his OPS sits at 1.467 through 10 games this year.
The Mariners farmhand collected four extra-base hits, including a pair of homers, in Triple-A Tacoma's 11-10 loss to El Paso at Southwest University Park. Nola went 4-for-5 with a career-high 12 total bases, tying career highs with four hits, four RBIs and three runs scored on a day when the wind was blowing out to center field at 17 mph.

Gameday box score
Nola's big day started in the second inning when he took a 1-1 pitch the other way for a double down the right-field line against starter Dietrich Enns. He scored the game's first run two batters later when Kristopher Negrón singled to center, but El Paso retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the frame.
That lead didn't last long as the Rainiers scored five times in the third, capped by Nola's second homer of the season, a blast to left-center field on a 2-2 pitch from Enns. Nola got to the starter one more time in the fifth when he ripped the first pitch to right for a double that scored J.P. Crawford from first base.
Raking against lefties is nothing new for Nola, who posted a .928 OPS in 49 at-bats against southpaws last year and has consistently hit left-handers better than right-handers throughout his career. Enns' exit didn't stop Nola's run of facing lefties, but it did end the 2012 fifth-round pick's perfect day at the plate as he grounded out to shortstop against Kyle McGrath to end the seventh.
After El Paso scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 9-7 lead, Nola came to the plate as the tying run with two outs and a runner on first in the ninth. A wild pitch from lefty Paco Rodríguez moved Orlando Calixte to second and Nola homered again to left-center on a 2-2 count to tie the game at 9-9.
Ian Miller gave the Rainiers a 10-9 lead with a single to center three batters later, but Ty France ended the high-scoring affair with a walk-off, two-run homer after Padres No. 11 prospectJosh Naylor drew a four-pitch walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Seattle signed Nola as a Minor League free agent in January off a career-best .279/.370/.376 slash line with two homers and 32 RBIs at Triple-A New Orleans last year. He's continued that upward trajectory this season and is batting .474/.545/.921.

Top Mariners prospectJustus Sheffield started for Tacoma and allowed three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and three walks with six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. It's the third consecutive start in which the left-hander has issued at least three walks.
Calixte was 2-for-5 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored for the Rainiers, while Crawford chipped in two hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
France led the way for the Chihuahuas with his second straight game with two homers and four RBIs. Jose Pirela homered, doubled and drove in three runs, while Padres No. 20 prospect Austin Allen went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Chris Tripodi is a producer for MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @christripodi.