A strong performance by left-hander Justin Marks pushed the Reno Aces to a 7-3 win over the Sacramento River Cats Thursday night at Aces Ballpark. The victory was the second straight for Reno following a season-high six-game losing streak.
The Aces never trailed, in large part because of Marks' (3-3) effectiveness.
His offense also helped out considerably.
Reno (11-17) jumped in front 1-0 in the first inning against right-hander Austin Fleet (1-2). Singles by Garrett Weber , Peter O'Brien and Nick Evans loaded the bases for Jamie Romak who lofted a sacrifice fly to center.
Sacramento's (15-13) Juan Ciriaco doubled to start the second and later scored on a run-scoring single by John Bowker, but the southpaw Marks settled in afterwards, facing one over the minimum from the third through the seventh.
While the lefty was dealing, the Aces' offense continued their recent surge at the dish.
Mike Freeman opened the third with a sharp single to right and Evans hit his second of three singles – and four hits – with one out, moving Freeman into scoring position. Romak gave the Aces their second lead of the night moments later with a two-run double down the left-field line.
Marks ensured the second lead given to him held up.
The 27-year-old worked around a two-out single in the fourth before the River Cats' Darren Ford was wiped off the bases in the fifth following a one-out single. Marks caught the speedster leaning at first, picking him off on a 1-3-6 caught stealing.
Marks sustained his success with a 1-2-3 sixth and capped his impressive start in the seventh, erasing a leadoff single by inducing a 4-6-3 double play. Over seven frames, he scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out five en route to his third victory.
Reno tallied a single run in the fifth on an RBI double by Evans.
The Aces tacked on three insurance runs in the home half of the eighth, sending eight batters to the plate in the process. O'Brien doubled, stole third – the first stolen base of his career – and raced home on a fielder's choice by Romak to ignite the rally.
Romak finished 1-for-4 with a season-high 4 RBI while Evans' four-hit night bumped his average to .263.
The Aces now hit the road for a four-game series beginning tomorrow night in Salt Lake City against the Salt Lake Bees. Right-hander Blake Beavan (0-1, 5.27) starts for Reno against Salt Lake left-hander Adam Wilk (1-1, 1.88). First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 p.m.