A four-run fifth inning propelled the Reno Aces past the El Paso Chihuahuas Friday night at Aces Ballpark.
A three-run triple by Peter O’Brien keyed the big inning for the Aces. O’Brien finished the game 3-for-4 a triple, double and three runs driven in to raise his season total to Pacific Coast League-best 104 RBI.
El Paso started the scoring in the third inning on back-to-back run-scoring hits by Hunter Renfroe and Ramiro Pena. They extended their lead to 3-0 when Jason Hagerty lined a base hit to left-center to score Rymer Liriano in the fourth.
Back-to-back singles by Jamie Romak and O’Brien sparked a rally for the Aces in the home half of the fourth. A groundout put the runners in scoring position for Danny Worth who plated the first run with a run-scoring groundout.
The Chihuahuas wasted little time in getting the run back. Casey McElroy led off the fifth with an opposite field double and came around to score when Renfroe followed with an RBI single to right field to up lead to 4-1.
Just like the bottom of the fourth, Reno came back with runs of their own in the home half of the fifth. Nick Buss singled, Todd Glaesmann walked, and Nick Evans singled to load the bases with nobody out.
El Paso starter Casey Kelly struck out Romak for the first out in the inning, but couldn’t get past O’Brien who lined the bases-clearing triple to right-center to even the game at 4-4. The Aces took the lead when Mike Freeman hit into a fielder’s choice in the next at bat. Freeman hit a bouncer to short that Hector Gomez fielded and threw home but the toss sailed high and O’Brien scored the go-ahead run to make it 5-4.
Aces starter Allen Webster finished his night with a shutdown inning in the top of the sixth. He allowed four runs on eight hits in six frames and picked up the win to improve his record to 4-6.
In the seventh, a single by Evans and a double by O’Brien put the Aces in business. An intentional walk was issued to Freeman to load the bases for Danny Worth. The move backfired when Jerry Sullivan walked him to force in a run and give the Aces a 6-4 lead.
El Paso got a run in the eighth to cut the deficit to 6-5, but that’s as close as they’d get. Kaleb Fleck worked a scoreless ninth to notch his seventh save of the season.
The win improved the Aces’ record to 69-71 and dropped El Paso to 75-65. The Chihuahuas are ½ game behind the Las Vegas 51s in the Pacific Southern Division standings with four games to play.
A doubleheader is scheduled for games two and three of the series Saturday night at Aces Ballpark. Blayne Weller (1-2, 3.98) starts for the Aces in game one against left-hander Robbie Erlin (6-6, 5.93) for the Chihuahuas. Right-hander RJ Hively (2-0, 4.30) gets the nod for Reno in game two against right-hander Aaron Northcraft (2-4, 6.11) for El Paso. First pitch in game one is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.