On a cool and breezy night at Aces Ballpark, the El Paso Chihuahuas early offense was enough to earn a 7-5 win over the Aces on Opening Day.
In the top of the first inning, El Paso's Kyle Blanks rocketed a line drive off the leg of Aces starter Alex Sanabia (@sanabia28). The ball caromed into foul territory and Raymond Fuentes scored the game's first run.
Reno answered quickly in the bottom of the first. Ender Inciarte (@enderdavid18) singled to lead things off and Cody Ross (@IamCodyRoss) followed with another base hit. Two batters later, Andy Marte knocked in Inciarte with a groundout to make it 1-1.
Trouble returned for Sanabia as El Paso plated runs in each of the first four innings. Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run homer in the fourth to make it a 6-3 game. Alex Castellanos followed with a single that promptly ended Sanabia's night.
Both team's bullpens dialed in and held the other in check until late in the game. In the bottom of the eighth, Nick Evans' two-run double cut the lead to 6-5. However, Kevin Quackenbush was summoned from the ‘pen and retired Marte and DiDi Gregorius (@DidiG18) to thwart the rally.
The Chihuahuas got an insurance run in the ninth on Brooks Conrad's big fly to left. Down 7-5, Nick Ahmed (@NickAhmed_) gave Reno life in the ninth with a one-out double. Quackenbush buckled down and got Mike Jacobs to fly out and then struck out Inciarte to end the game.
Playing on a Major League rehab assignment, Ross played five innings and was 2-for-2 with a pair of singles. The outfielder is scheduled to stay with Reno for the remainder of the homestand.
The two teams meet again Friday at Aces Ballpark. RHP Mike Bolsinger (@mbolsinger) gets the ball for the Aces against RHP Keyvius Sampson for the Chihuahuas. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.