The Reno Aces scored three runs in the first inning and hung on for a 4-3 win over the El Paso Chihuahuas Monday night at Southwest University Park.
Four hits in the first inning off of El Paso starter Colin Rea plated three early runs for the Aces. Back-to-back singles by Brandon Drury and Nick Evans started a rally for Reno.
The next batter, Jamie Romak, hit a groundball to short that should have been a double play. Instead, the transfer to second base wasn’t clean and allowed Romak to beat out the ensuing throw to first and keep the inning alive.
With runners and the corners and two out, Mike Freeman sent a triple down the right-field line to score Drury and Evans to make it 2-0. Peter O’Brien followed with an RBI single to extend the Aces lead to 3-0.
Reno starter Jhoulys Chacin worked around early baserunners to put zeroes up over the first three innings. The Chihuahuas scratched across their first run in the fourth on run-scoring double by Jason Hagerty.
The Aces got what would prove to be a big insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. A two-out walk issued to Drury came around to hurt El Paso. Evans followed Drury’s walk with a base hit to right-center to put runners at the corners. Romak came up and hit a bloop single into center-field to score Drury and give the Aces a 4-1 lead.
Left-hander Keith Hessler got out of a small jam in the seventh when he got Jake Goebbert to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play, but allowed a two-run homer to Ramiro Pena in the bottom of the eighth to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Matt Stites got the final two outs in the eighth without incident, and Enrique Burgos pitched a scoreless ninth. He struck out pinch-hitter Cody Decker to nail down the save.
Chacin allowed one run on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings to pick up the win and improve to 4-3. Burgos earned his third save of the season with the Aces and Nick Evans had the lone multi-hit game for Reno, his team-high 34th of the season.
The series finale is scheduled for Tuesday night in El Paso. Right-hander Gabriel Arias (5-3, 5.73) starts for the Aces against right-hander Daniel McCutchen (6-6, 4.50) for the Chihuahuas. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PST.