The Rainiers spoiler role came to an end on Sunday night, as Las Vegas scored six runs in the eighth inning and beat Tacoma, 8-1. The Vegas win, coupled with an El Paso loss in Sacramento, clinched the Pac-South division title for the Aviators. The Aviators celebrated with a raucous pool party in right-center field at the new Las Vegas Ballpark.
It’s the first playoff berth for Las Vegas since 2014, when Wally Backman led the then-Mets affiliate to the postseason two years in a row. Las Vegas plays Sacramento in the Pacific Conference Championship Series, starting Wednesday night at Raley Field. It will be Iowa against Round Rock in the American Conference series.
Tacoma has one last game to play, and because of last night’s result it is meaningless in the standings. Rainiers players will get one final game before heading off on their winter plans.
Everyone scatters after this one. Most will head to wherever they call home, and perhaps move on to winter ball after a brief rest. A couple may get called up by the Mariners after today’s game. Others will rest for a few weeks before participating in Mariners offseason programs down at the Peoria, AZ complex.
We’ll keep the blog active during the offseason. Come back Wednesday for a PCL playoffs preview post. You’ve been following along all season; might as well stick around and see who wins this crazy league.
After the baseball ends we’ll have weekly (more or less) posts covering player moves that involve potential Rainiers, and whatever else inspires me to write a post.
Thanks for reading this season, and following the team. Let’s win one last game for the road!
YESTERDAY: Las Vegas clinched the Pac-South division title with an 8-1 win over Tacoma on Sunday night. It was a 2-1 game until the Aviators scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Eric Filia had three hits for the Rainiers, and Sean Nolin struck out 11 over 4.2 innings while giving up two runs. Nolin is the first Tacoma pitcher to strikes out 11 batters in a game since James Paxton did it in 2013.
TODAY: Tacoma (61-77) at Las Vegas (82-57), 12:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan. Riordan was voted the PCL Manager of the Year earlier this week.
SEASON SERIES: Las Vegas leads, 9-6.
PITCHERS: RHP Andrew Moore (0-4, 8.38) at RHP Daniel Mengden (4-3, 4.22)
HOT HITTERS: Jaycob Brugman has hit seven homers and driven in 28 runs over his last 18 games… John Andreoli is 12-for-26 with six RBI on this road trip… Eric Filia has reached base safely in 16 straight games, and 23 of the last 24, and he is 13-for-22 on the road trip.
OPPONENT NEWS: After sweeping Tacoma last weekend, Las Vegas went to Albuquerque and lost three of four. They also lost three key players: Seth Brown and Sheldon Neuse got called up, and Nick Martini was lost on waivers… yesterday the A’s called up Franklin Barreto and Sean Murphy… Mark Payton and Alfonso Rivas have seven-game hitting streaks.
FAMILIAR FACES: Las Vegas pitching coach and PCL veteran Rick Rodriguez pitched for the Tacoma Tigers from 1983 to 1987. Catcher Cameron Rupp played for Tacoma last year.
BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 11:50 on South Sound Talk 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
In the PCL:
- Sacramento shut out El Paso, 5-0, helping end the Chihuahuas four-year playoff streak. Carlos Navas, Pat Venditte, Sam Selman, and Daniel Winkler combined on a four-hit shutout.
- Reno scored six runs in the top of the first inning and managed to lose the game in Salt Lake City, 7-6. Kaleb Cowart had three hits for the Bees.
- Fresno took down Albuquerque, 7-6, on Wilmer Difo‘s two-run double in the bottom of the tenth inning.
- Taylor Jones belted his 22nd home run to help Round Rock win at Omaha, 5-3. Kyle Tucker got called up today.
- Nashville’s Tim Dillard pitched seven innings and recorded his 1,000th minor league strikeout in a 7-3 win over San Antonio. Christian Lopes homered and drove in four runs.
- Oklahoma City blasted New Orleans, 11-5, as Edwin Rios homered for the 31st time this season. Dodgers phenom Gavin Lux was summoned to Los Angeles.
- Iowa scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning off Memphis starter Jake Woodford and beat the Redbirds, 6-5.