Shed Long Flips Game With One Swing

Tacoma was trailing Reno last night, 5-2, just kind of trudging through the middle innings seemingly on the way to a rather routine loss, when we all got a reminder of why baseball is such a great sport.

The bottom of the seventh cam along, and Tacoma managed to load the bases with two outs, doing so without a hit: two walks and a hit-by-pitch.

Shed Long was due up, and Reno brought in veteran left-hand relief specialist Marc Rzepczynski to face Tacoma’s young left-hand hitter. Interesting match-up: lefty one-out specialist trying to get back to the big leagues against a good hitting young prospect who is on the wrong side of the platoon.

The count was 2-2 when Rzepczynski missed his spot:

Just like that, the Rainiers had the lead. The improving-by-the-day Tacoma bullpen made the lead stand up and Tacoma got the win.

RAINIERS DAILY

YESTERDAY: Down 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Tacoma loaded the bases with two outs for Shed Long… and he connected, drilling a 2-2 pitch from Marc Rzepczynski on a low line drive over the right field fence for a go-ahead grand slam. Relievers Aaron Northcraft and Parker Markel made the lead hold up and Tacoma won, 6-5.

TODAY: Reno (14-19) at Tacoma (15-19), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.

OPPOSING MANAGER: Chris Cron.

SEASONS SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

PITCHERS: RHP Vinny Nittoli (0-3, 8.22) at RHP Christian Bergman (0-3, 7.80)

HOT HITTERS: J.P. Crawford has reached base via hit or walk in 31 straight games, and he has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games… Austin Nola has hits in 20 of the 25 games he has batted in this season… Shed Long had a career-high five RBI yesterday, and over his last six games he is 9-for-24 with two homers and eight RBI.

OPPONENT NEWS: Reno just split a high-scoring four-game series at Sacramento… Triple-A rookie Domingo Leyba has a seven-game hitting streak… Kevin Cron is tied for the PCL lead in home runs (14) and RBI (40); his father is the Reno manager. Cron has homered in each of the first two games of this series.

FAMILIAR FACES: Lots of ’em on this club. Reno has former Rainiers in outfielders Andrew Aplin and Abraham Almonte, pitchers Anthony Vasquez and Marc Rzepczynski, and they have a local guy in Mill Creek native Travis Snider.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app ‚Äď just¬†click here.

PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • Here’s an excellent story about Tacoma’s Austin Nola making the transition from infielder to catcher three years ago.
  • As part of its occasional series focusing on Mariners prospects, the Seattle Times has an article on Class-A outfielder Jarred Kelenic.
  • Yusei Kikuchi had another very strong start and the Mariners walloped the Yankees, 10-1. That’s two dominant starts since Kikuchi had that scheduled one-inning outing. Hmmm.
  • Lookout Landing has one of its solid State of the Farm reports.

In the PCL:

  • Fresno’s Scott Copeland allowed just four hits and one run over seven innings to win at Sacramento, 4-1.
  • Trailing Salt Lake 8-5 going to the bottom of the ninth inning, Las Vegas scored four runs to win it, 9-8. Jorge Mateo had the game-winning RBI single – part of a 3-for-5 night that included a homer and his PCL-leading ninth triple of the year.
  • Rockies prospect Peter Lambert was on yesterday, delivering seven innings of three-hit ball at El Paso and earning a 6-2 win for Albuquerque.
  • Nashville banged out 15 hits and won at Oklahoma City, 13-6. Zack Granite had another four-hit game while Andy Ibanez reached base five times.
  • New Orleans ace Zac Gallen continued his early-season dominance of the PCL, allowing two hits and one run over seven innings of a 5-2 win at San Antonio. Gallen is 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA.
  • Round Rock slugger Yordan Alvarez homered and drove in two runs in a 9-7 win at Omaha. Alvarez is tied with Kevin Cron for the league lead in both home runs and RBI. The Austin newspaper has a story on life on the road in the PCL.
  • Finally, Iowa’s eight-game win streak came to a halt with a tight 2-1 loss in Memphis. Austin Gomber and the Redbirds bullpen held the I-Cubs in check, while Andrew Knizer and Rangel Ravelo homered.
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