Tyler O’Neill drove an RBI triple to center field during the eighth inning and the Tacoma Rainiers defeated the Round Rock Express in the finale of the series 6-4 at Cheney Stadium on Sunday.
The offense of the Rainiers (23-12) was led by center fielder Leonys Martin, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, Tyler Smith, who hit a solo home run and Daniel Vogelbach, who hit a homer and scored two runs.
Right-hander Andrew Moore struck out five, walked three and allowed just two runs through six innings in his second start with Tacoma.
The Rainiers brought seven batters to the plate in the bottom half of the first inning. Mike Zunino slapped an RBI double, which scored Seth Mejias-Brean. Martin then followed with a line drive single up the middle to score Vogelbach from third base and increased Tacoma’s lead to 2-0.
Round Rock (15-22) would tie the game in the top half of the fourth. Ronald Guzman drilled a solo shot to left field to cut the deficit in half to 2-1. After Moore walked the next two batters, Cesar Puello lined an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 2-2. Moore eventually induced a double play with the bases loaded to escape the jam.
Smith ripped a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to give Tacoma a 3-2 lead.
Vogelbach’s solo blast to right center in the bottom of the fifth inning extended the Rainiers lead to 4-2.
Tacoma lefty Dean Kiekhefer allowed a two-run home run off the bat of Guzman — his second of the game — to level the score at 4-4 in the top of the eighth inning. The Tacoma bullpen had tallied three consecutive scoreless innings before Guzman’s equalizer.
Martin singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth and came around to score when left fielder Tyler O’Neill smacked the triple off the wall in center field. First baseman D.J. Peterson then launched a sacrifice fly to center to score O’Neill and moved the score to 6-4.
Tacoma right-hander Ryne Harper (2-0) came in to get the final four outs for the Rainiers.
The Rainiers have the day off tomorrow, then return to action Tuesday against the Storm Chasers in Omaha. Right-hander Chris Heston (2-1, 3.25 ERA) will take the hill for Tacoma, while left-hander Eric Skogland (1-3, 5.16) goes for Omaha.