Rainiers Season Opens With Drama

After two rain-marred evenings, the Rainiers finally played their first full game of the 2017 season on Saturday night in Sacramento. That meant top prospect Tyler O’Neill made his Triple-A debut – and it was an eventful one.

The 21-year-old right fielder showed why he is rated so highly by scouts, blasting an enormous three-run homer to left field in the top of the second inning to give the Rainiers a 5-3 lead.

Tacoma maintained that lead until the bottom of the eighth inning, when O’Neill made two errors allowing three runs to score. One was a routine fly ball which was dropped, the other a single which skipped past him and went to the fence. Sacramento won the game, 6-5.

I can’t imagine the highs and lows O’Neill went through in a short period of time. Hopefully he’ll realize it was just one game out of 142, and that there is plenty of time to improve with the glove.

The team has a quick turnaround with the day game today, so O’Neill won’t have much time to dwell on last night’s adventure.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Sacramento scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to snag a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Tacoma.

Today: Tacoma (0-1) at Sacramento (1-0), 1:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Dylan Unsworth (–) at RHP Tyler Beede (–).

Each pitcher is making his Triple-A debut. Unsworth is bidding to become the first South African to reach the majors, while Beede is considered the Giants top pitching prospect.

Hot Rainiers: Ben Gamel and Mike Freeman each had two hits for Tacoma.

Look Out For: Outfielder Austin Slater carried the big bat yesterday, hitting a two-run double as well as a run-scoring single.

Ex-Rainiers and Locals: First-year Sacramento manager Dave Brundage managed Tacoma in 2006. He’s spent the last ten years managing in the International League… River Cats pitching coach Dwight Bernard is an old friend, having served in the same role for Tacoma for seven years… lefty reliever Kraig Sitton is expected to be on Sacramento’s roster tonight; he pitched very well for Tacoma last year before leaving as a free agent… one-time Rainiers outfielder Justin Ruggiano is playing for Sacramento… finally, ex-Rainiers and Mariners SS/3B/2B/1B/OF Michael Morse is on Sacramento’s disabled list.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 12:50 on South Sound Sports 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.

Links:

PCL Reports:

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