Sacramento sweeps doubleheader against Rainiers

River Cats get strong starts from Suarez and Knight, big hits from Shaw and Bennett

By Evan Arnold-Gordon / Sacramento River Cats | July 9, 2017 12:55 AM ET

West Sacramento, CA - The Sacramento River Cats (35-53) took both games of their doubleheader from the Tacoma Rainiers (45-43) Saturday night at Raley Field. The River Cats won game one - a resumption of April 7th's suspended game - 6-3 before shutting out the Rainiers 3-0 in game two

It took 93 days for the River Cats and Rainiers to complete their Opening Day matchup, but Sacramento got the win and officially started their 2017 campaign 1-0. Centerfielder Justin Ruggiano paced the offense in game one, launching a three-run homer in the third. After Tacoma tied things up in the fifth inning against starter Andrew Suarez, left fielder Chris Shaw took the lead back with a solo home run. Sacramento tacked on two more runs in the eighth to put the game away 6-3. Derek Law, who was with San Francisco when this game officially started, closed it out for the save.

In game two, right-hander Dusten Knight led the way for Sacramento, keeping the Rainiers offense off the board while tying a career-high by throwing 5.2 innings. Knight set a new season-high with six strikeouts and allowed two free passes and two singles. Behind him, second baseman T.J. Bennett backed his strong performance with a solo home run for the first run of the game. Juan Ciriaco and Juniel Querecuto each collected an RBI in the 3-0 victory and right-hander Tyler Rogers picked up his team-leading third save this season.

Sacramento will finish their four-game set with Tacoma tomorrow afternoon before heading into the All-Star Break. Right-hander Jose Flores (0-0, 0.00) will be on the hill for the River Cats. It will be righty Christian Bergman (6-0, 3.28) for the Rainiers. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. (PT) and the game can be heard live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.

Postgame Notes

Suarez steps up: Andrew Suarez set a new season-high by throwing 104 pitches (66 strikes)…the left-hander earned his first win at Raley Field tonight…after not allowing a home run in his first three starts, he has now allowed three over his last two outings.

Ciriaco continued: Juan Ciriaco extended his hitting streak to a team-leading six games…went 3-for-6 over the two games and is hitting .524 (11-for-21) over his streak.

Touch 'em all: Sacramento smacked three homers tonight…currently sit 11th in the PCL with 80 home runs this season…30 have come at home and 50 have come on the road.

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The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the three-time World Champion San Francisco Giants. The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento, consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. River Cats Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, and Flex Plans can be purchased for the 2017 season by calling the River Cats Ticket Hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). For more information about the River Cats, visit www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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