Nola and Sheffield shine, but Tacoma Rainiers’ bullpen woes continue in El Paso

Tacoma Rainiers

A big day for Austin Nola and a strong start by Justus Sheffield weren’t enough on Wednesday for the Tacoma Rainiers.

The Rainiers lost, 11-10, in El Paso when the Chihuahuas’ Ty France hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a late rally that saw the home team score eight runs in the last two innings against the Rainiers’ bullpen.

It was a second-straight loss for the Rainiers, who couldn’t match El Paso’s offense in a 13-5 drubbing on Tuesday. That wasn’t a problem in game two of the series, as Tacoma banged out 15 hits, with Nola leading the way with four. The Rainiers catcher hit two home runs and drove in four.

Sheffield pitched 6⅔ innings, giving up three runs (two earned). He struck out six and turned a 7-3 lead over to the bullpen.

El Paso, though, grabbed a 9-7 lead with a six-run eighth inning against Robinson Leyer and Matt Festa.

The Rainiers’ tied the game in the ninth on Nola’s second homer, a two-run blast, and then took the lead on an RBI single by Ian Miller to make it 10-9.

Festa, in the bottom of the ninth, got two outs on a popup and a ground out but walked Josh Naylor on four pitches, setting the stage for France’s game-winning homer.

Tacoma and El Paso will wrap up their three game series in El Paso on Thursday starting a 6:05 p.m.