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May 19 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Salt Lake Bees

May 19, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Tacoma Rainiers News Release


Sunday, May 19 - 1:35 PM - Cheney Stadium - Tacoma, WA

RHP Emerson Hancock (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Zach Plesac (1-6, 6.64)

TODAY'S GAME: Tacoma and Salt Lake will play the sixth and final game of the series today, with a pitching rematch from game one. Emerson Hancock will take the ball for the Rainiers, making his second career Triple-A start. The right-hander earned a win on Tuesday, tossing six scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and four walks while striking out two of the 26 batters he faced. Opposite Hancock will be Zach Plesac toeing the rubber for the Bees. Plesac will make his third start against Tacoma this season, losing each of the first two starts on April 5 and May 14. His most recent loss came on Tuesday, when he surrendered four earned runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out two over 4.1 innings. On the season, the right-hander is 1-6 with a 6.64 ERA through eight starts, allowing 30 earned runs on 47 hits and 18 walks while striking out 29 over his 40.2 innings.

CELEBRATING EARLY: Today is Brian Anderson's 31st birthday and he celebrated early last night, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a double, a home run, a run batted in and a walk. It marked the first three-hit game of the season for Anderson, who had previously recorded four two-hit games entering play last night. The infielder's three runs scored tied a season high for a Rainiers' player in a single game this year.

JUST A HITTER: Despite playing in just 24 of Tacoma's 44 games this season, Nick Solak has been a big-time contributor when he is in the lineup. He went 2-for-3 with a run scored, a home run and two runs batted in out of the nine-hole last night. His two hits raised his average to .303 on the year, going 23-for-76 with three doubles, three home runs and 18 runs batted in. He has also drawn nine walks compared to 14 strikeouts. Solak has two or more hits in 25% (6-of-24) of the games he has played in this season for the Rainiers.

LEADING THE WAY: Ryan Bliss has been a steady presence for Tacoma in many ways this season. The middle infielder is tied for the team lead in games played with 43 and leads the team with 27 runs batted in, 34 walks and 22 stolen bases in those 43 games. Bliss has just 10 more strikeouts than walks, entering play today with 44 strikeouts compared to his 34 walks, raising his on-base percentage to .372. He has also shown some power at the plate, clubbing seven doubles, three triples and four home runs. His seven doubles are just one shy of the team lead and his three triples lead the team and also are in the top-10 of PCL players. After Leo Rivas got his contract selected by Seattle, Bliss has been the team's primary shortstop, starting 26 games at shortstop compared to 21 games at second base.

QUALITY STARTER: Casey Lawrence earned his second consecutive win with his outing last night, tossing seven innings of one-run ball. The righty allowed five hits and three walks while striking out a season-high 10 batters. His 10 strikeouts were the most for Lawrence since April 19, 2023, with Triple-A Buffalo against Iowa. They matched the season high for the Rainiers, tying Jhonathan Diaz' 10 strikeouts against Salt Lake back on April 4. After 10 strikeouts last night, the 36-year-old now has 29 on the year, accounting for 34% of his season-long strikeouts in last night's game. He also became the third straight starting pitcher for Tacoma to toss 7.0 innings. The Rainiers entered the series having done that just once and now have four starts of 7.0 innings this season. It was his third quality start of the season and first time earning a win when throwing a quality start.

DOUBLE DOWN: Jake Slaughter recorded his first two extra-base hits as a member of the Tacoma Rainiers last night, going 2-for-5 with a run scored, two doubles and two runs batted in. Slaughter had RBI doubles in both the third and eighth innings last night, bringing in two of Tacoma's eight runs. The infielder no has eight on the season after hitting six with Triple-A Iowa in 32 games prior to being traded. It has been somewhat of a slow start for the 27-year-old since being traded, hitting .235 (4-for-17) with six strikeouts through his first four games. Prior to being traded to Seattle, Slaughter was hitting .297 (33-for-111) in 32 games for the Iowa Cubs.

AGAINST SALT LAKE: Tacoma and Salt Lake will meet for the sixth and final game of their series today, with Tacoma leading the series three games to two. Tacoma holds a 7-4 lead in the season series and 396-381-1 record in the all-time series and will go for their second straight series win over the Bees this season.

SHORT HOPS: With their win last night, Tacoma gave themselves the chance to earn their fifth series of the year and fourth at home; they enter today's game a perfect 3-0 in series at Cheney Stadium this year...Ty Buttrey allowed three earned runs in the ninth inning last night, marking three straight appearances of at least two earned runs allowed; he gave up five on May 8 at Reno, two on May 14 against the Bees and three last night, pushing his ERA on the year from 6.30 to 12.08...Tacoma gained a game on Sacramento last night, but all three teams ahead or even with them from the PCL East also won, putting the Rainiers 2.0 games back of the PCL West lead and 5.0 games back of first place overall.

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