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April 17 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers at Las Vegas Aviators

April 17, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Tacoma Rainiers News Release

TACOMA RAINIERS (12-4) @ Las Vegas Aviators (5-10)

Wednesday, April 17 - 7:05 PM - Las Vegas Ballpark - Las Vegas, NV

RHP Levi Stoudt (1-1, 5.40) vs. RHP Aaron Brooks (0-3, 2.20)

TONIGHT'S GAME: Tacoma and Las Vegas will play game two of their six-game set tonight, with Levi Stoudt getting the start for the Rainiers. Stoudt enters play tonight with a 1-1 record and a 5.40 ERA, allowing eight earned runs on 12 hits including three home runs. The right-hander has walked six batters while striking out 12, allowing opponents to hit .231 against him. On the other side, the Aviators will hand Aaron Brooks the ball, looking for his first win of the season. Brooks comes into tonight's game with an 0-3 record and a 2.20 ERA through his first three starts of the year. The 33-year-old has allowed four earned runs (nine total) on 16 this and one walk, striking out 14 batters in his 16.1 innings pitched.

SHUT THEM DOWN: Tacoma allowed no runs on just six hits last night, marking the first time shutting out the Las Vegas offense when playing a game at Las Vegas Ballpark. Since 2019, the Rainiers have now played 39 games at Las Vegas Ballpark. In their 38 games prior to last night, Tacoma was 19-19 at Las Vegas Ballpark. They allowed 257 runs in those 38 games, good for an average of 6.8 runs per game. They limited the Aviators to one run three times, most recently on April 28, 2022, but had never shut out the Las Vegas offense until last night's victory.

CATCHING FIRE: Michael Chavis has gotten red-hot over his last three games, recording three straight multi-hit efforts. The infielder is now 7-for-12 with seven runs scored, three home runs and five runs batted in over his last three games. Chavis hit a home run in their win over Reno in the series finale back on Sunday, following that up with home runs in each of his first two at-bats last night against Las Vegas. Chavis is now the third Rainiers' hitter to hit home runs in back-to-back games and the first to have two home runs in the same game. With his recent hot streak, the 28-year-old is now hitting .293 in his 12 games for Tacoma this year. He leads the team with four home runs and slugging percentage, at .585.

IT JUST CONTINUES: Despite pitching in a hitter-friendly park last night, Jhonathan Diaz continued his hot streak with another lights out performance. The southpaw spun six more scoreless innings in his third consecutive win last night, allowing just five hits while striking out eight. Through four starts, Diaz is now 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA, allowing just one earned run on 17 hits and one walk while striking out 27 batters over 24.0 innings pitched. The only start in which Diaz did not earn a win was on Opening Night, when he spun five scoreless innings but Tacoma was also held off the board for those five frames. After his outing last night, the 27-year-old is now first among all Triple-A qualified pitchers in ERA (0.38), wins (3), strikeouts (27) and innings pitched (24.0), while being second in all of Triple-A with a 0.75 WHIP and nine in batting average against, at .198.

COMING TOGETHER: Through Tacoma's first 11 games this year, they were 8-3 and held a two-game lead in the Pacific Coast League West Division. Through those 11 games, they had won games behind the strength of their pitching staff, as Rainiers' pitching allowed four or less runs in eight of those first 11 games. Throughout that span, Tacoma's offense topped out at seven runs scored three different times. In the five games since then, Tacoma has gone 4-1, and their offense has scored 10+ runs in three of the five games. They put up 11 runs on April 11 against Reno, 13 in the finale against the Aces on Sunday and 14 in last night's win over Las Vegas in the series opener. Over their first 11 games, Tacoma scored 53 total runs, putting up 50 in their last five games.

BACK ON THE MOUND: Joey Krehbiel took the mound at Las Vegas Ballpark last night in the eighth inning with a 14-0 lead. He threw a scoreless inning, but there was a lot less on the line than there was the last time Krehbiel pitched on that same mound. The right-hander recorded the final out for the Norfolk Tides in a 7-6 victory over the Oklahoma City Dodgers in the Triple-A National Championship game on Sept. 30, 2023.

ANOTHER ONE: Mauricio Llovera recorded another scoreless outing last night, giving him 2.1 straight perfect innings over his last two outings. In the series finale on Sunday, Llovera tossed 1.1 perfect innings, striking out a batter and earning his second win of the season. Last night, the right-hander struck out the side in a perfect seventh inning, throwing nine of his 13 pitches for strikes. With the scoreless outing, Llovera moved to 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA through his first five games this year.

AGAINST LAS VEGAS: Tacoma and Las Vegas are set to play game two of their current six-game series, with the Rainiers leading the series after their 14-0 victory last night. Their current six-game series will be the only time the two teams play at Las Vegas Ballpark this year, where the Rainiers were just 2-4 last season. Tacoma enters play tonight leading the all-time series by six games over Las Vegas, at 304-298.

SHORT HOPS: Tacoma's batting average has gone up 22 points over their last two games, from .236 entering play on Sunday to .258 after last night's game...Cade Marlowe recorded Tacoma's seventh outfield assist last night through the team's first 16 games this year...the Rainiers have scored 27 runs on 30 hits in their last two games, outscoring their opponents by 20 runs and out-hitting them by 17...the 4,457 fans in attendance last night marked the largest road crowd Tacoma has played in front of this year.

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