Nicholas, Hedges Lead Attack in El Paso’s Bizarre Win vs Tacoma

Credit: EVT

Tacoma, Washington 

The El Paso Chihuahuas (23-23) took on the Tacoma Rainiers (23-23) in Game 2 of this four-game series on Tuesday night.

The weather was absolutely perfect, in the high 70s without a cloud in the sky, Mount Rainier was in plain view.

The game got off to a fast start as neither Chris Huffman nor Roenis Elias were sharp early.

After the Rainiers took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Chihuahuas exploded for five runs in the second after an Auston Bousfield two-run triple, and RBI singles by Luis Urias and Brett Nicholas.

That lead was short-lived as the Rainiers got to Huffman for four runs in the bottom half. He left after just 1 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs. T.J. Weir came on in relief and pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief, walking two without allowing a hit.

El Paso took the lead right back in the fifth inning on a three-run moonshot by Austin Hedges, which was his first hit during this rehab stint.

The Chihuahuas would add two more in the sixth with a two-run homer by Nicholas, giving them a 10-5 lead after six.

Urias got on ahead of that Brett Nicholas homer as he reached base three times Tuesday with two hits and a walk, with an RBI and two runs scored to boot. Both of his hits were from solid contact, up the middle and into right field respectively.

He seems to be finding his stroke again as he is 6-11 while reaching base eight times in his last three games. Hunter Renfroe, like Hedges, also is on a rehab assignment and added two hits and a run scored.

The game started and ended in a weird fashion. First, home plate umpire Clay Park was absolutely rigid about the pitch clock, so much so that not only did I witness a pitch clock violation, awarding the batter a ball for the first time, but Park called three pitch clock violations, two on Tacoma’s Elias on the mound, and the third time, Allen Craig was called out on strikes after two strikes and taking too long to get set back in the box. Park seemed to explain his actions very clearly to both managers as no one was ejected after some discussion on both sides. It was clear from the beginning he would be enforcing the pitch clock and he stuck to it. It ended up awarding Urias a walk as the violation occurred against him with a three-ball count.

As if the game couldn’t get stranger than that, a fire alarm went off in the 8th inning, causing the stadium to be evacuated. The game ended up resuming on the field long before fans were allowed back in, so for about one full inning, the game was played in complete and eerie silence.

Among the chaos and confusion, Carlos Asuaje lined a double down the right field line in his first game since his demotion. The Rainiers tried to claw back in the bottom of the ninth inning, down 11-5 and did get a run across against Robert Stock, but it was unearned as it came by defensive indifference and a passed ball. Stock gathered himself and shut it down, sealing the 11-6 victory over the Rainiers.

Tacoma and El Paso play again Wednesday afternoon at 11:35am PDT. Jesse Scholtens (0-1, 5.91 ERA) will take the hill for El Paso and Ariel Miranda is scheduled to start for Tacoma.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

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