Smith Hammers Go-Ahead Homer to Jolt Rainiers to Third-Straight over Reno

Tacoma closes two gaps to cap impressive homestand before long road trip

Mallex Smith (Jeff Halstead)

By Tacoma Rainiers / Tacoma Rainiers | May 11, 2019 2:30 AM

Tacoma, WA - Mallex Smith clobbered his first home run with the Tacoma Rainiers on Friday night at Cheney Stadium, a three-run home run during a decisive sixth inning that propelled the home team to an 8-5 victory over the Reno Aces in Tacoma's eight-game homestand finale.

Falling behind on two occasions, the Rainiers (17-19) rallied from a 5-4 hole with four tallies in the sixth inning, beginning with a game-tying RBI single from second baseman Connor Kopach. The knock, which scored Tacoma newcomer Ryan Court, marked Kopach's first Triple-A hit and RBI. Two batters later, the center fielder Smith pummeled a 1-1 pitch from Reno (14-21) pitcher Ben Taylor over the right center field fence, scoring Kopach and left fielder Billy Cooke, who was also making his Triple-A debut.

The Rainiers trailed 3-0 after the opening half inning, but jumped on the board in the second when Ian Miller roped his second triple to center, plating shortstop Kristopher Negron. Tacoma then rallied for its first lead in the third when Tim Lopes doubled home Cooke and Smith while third baseman Orlando Calixte singled in Lopes for a 4-3 advantage.

Reigning PCL Pitcher of the Week Tommy Milone made his first start since receiving the accolade on Monday. The southpaw pitched five innings, allowing three runs (one earned) and striking out a pair. Ryan Garton surrendered the lead in the sixth but earned the win thanks to Smith's game-winning blast.

Robinson Leyer recorded four outs without allowing a run and Parker Markel earned a five-out save, striking out all five Aces he faced to collect his third save and second of the four-game series.

With the victory, Tacoma has claimed five of its last six contests and finishes the eight-game stay with a 6-2 record.

The Rainiers hit the road Saturday for a nine-game, 10-day road trip through Las Vegas and Reno. Manager Daren Brown will hand the ball to top prospect Justus Sheffield (1-1, 3.76) against the Las Vegas Aviators on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. PDT. Mike Curto will have full coverage on South Sound Talk 850 with audio streaming available on the Tacoma Rainiers TuneIn Radio Network.

All tickets, group outings, and suites packages for the 2019 season are available for purchase in person at the Cheney Stadium Box Office, online at TacomaRainiers.com and WeRTacoma.com, or over the phone at (253) 752-7707. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Rainiers throughout the season can be found by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (tacomarainiers) or liking the team on Facebook.

- We R Tacoma -

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

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