A four-run first inning, and a five-run seventh inning turned out to be more than enough for the Salt Lake Bees in a 9-3 win over the Reno Aces Thursday night at Smith’s Ballpark.
The unofficial second half of the season got off to a bumpy start for the Aces (44-48) when Salt Lake’s Kaleb Cowart blasted a three-run home run off starter Allen Webster in the bottom of the first inning to give the Bees (35-57) an early 4-0 lead.
Todd Glaesmann got a run back for the Aces in the second with his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center to cut the deficit to 4-1. They got another run back on a solo homer in the fourth inning. Danny Dorn belted his sixth round-tripper of the season to open the inning and make it 4-2.
Webster settled in after the first and kept Reno in the game through the sixth. He allowed two hits in the second but escaped a jam when he got former Ace Roger Kieschnick to bounce into a 6-3 inning-ending double play.
The right-hander faced the minimum over the next four innings. He allowed a base hit in the fourth but it was quickly erased with another double play.
Trailing 4-2 into the bottom of the seventh, trouble found Webster and the Aces in a big way. The frame started with a walk and consecutive hits to boost Salt Lake’s lead to 5-2. Reliever Evan Marshall was summoned and faced two batters but did not record an out.
By the end of the inning, three pitchers appeared for the Aces and ten came to the plate in the five-run inning for Salt Lake.
Down 9-2, Reno mustered another tally in the top of the ninth. Peter O’Brien doubled down the left-field line with two outs, then came around to score on an RBI single from Garrett Weber.
All but two of the runs were charged to Webster who suffered this third loss of the season. Nick Tropeano fired seven innings for Salt Lake and earned the win, his third of the year.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for Friday night in Salt Lake City. Right-hander Gabriel Arias (5-2, 5.16) starts for the Aces against right-hander Drew Rucinski (4-4, 5.17) for the Bees. First pitch is set for 6:05 PST.