FILE: Chihuahuas #21 Nick Noonan slides into home.
The El Paso Chihuahuas beat the Tacoma Rainiers 7-0 Friday night at Cheney Stadium to take a two games to one lead in the best of five series.
El Paso would clinch a berth in the Pacific Coast League Championship Series with a win in either of the next two games in Tacoma. Friday’s win was the first shutout in Chihuahuas’ postseason history.
Austin Hedges hit a two-out RBI double in the top of the first inning, giving El Paso the first run of the game for the second consecutive contest. Hedges went 3-for-4 Friday after starting the series 1-for-10. One inning later, Jose Rondon belted a two-run home run, his first of the playoffs, and Nick Noonan scored on a Tacoma error to put El Paso ahead 4-0.
El Paso’s late insurance runs came on a solo home run by Noonan and two RBI singles by designated hitter Carlos Asuaje. Chihuahuas’ starter Bryan Rodriguez tossed five shutout innings. El Paso starters have allowed only one run in 11.1 innings over the last two games.
The Chihuahuas won Games 2 and 3 by a combined score of 14-1.
The Chihuahuas’ leadoff batter reached base in five of the first six innings Friday.
Team Records: El Paso (2-1), Tacoma (1-2)
Next Game: Saturday at 8:05 p.m. Pacific Coast League playoffs at Cheney Stadium. El Paso RHP Dinelson Lamet (0-0, -.–) vs. Tacoma RHP Joe Wieland (0-0, -.–). Game coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.
El Paso 7 Tacoma 0 – Friday
WP: Rodriguez (1-0)
LP: LeBlanc (0-1)