Fresh off a seven-homer, 21-RBI April, Peter O’Brien started May off with another bang. The slugger smashed a walk-off home run off Ryan Arrowood to open the bottom of the 12th, giving the Reno Aces (10-13) a second extra-inning walk-off win over the Albuquerque Isotopes (14-10) in the past four days.
O’Brien’s big swing came on Arrowood’s first pitch of the inning, and it came at an important time. Curfew for the matinee had been set at 5:15 p.m. due to Albuquerque’s flight plans. O’Brien erased any doubts of a possible suspended game with his eighth homer of the season, tying Tacoma’s Mike Zunino for most in the Pacific Coast League. The extra-inning drive also gave him 100 career minor league home runs.
With two of baseball’s best right-handed pitching prospects on the mound, hits were difficult to come by from the get-go. Notching a clutch hit was even harder.
D-backs top-prospect Braden Shipley (@shipley25) scattered four singles over six shutout innings with five strikeouts. His counterpart, Rockies No. 4 prospect Jeff Hoffman, rifled through the Aces’ lineup as well, yielding three hits over seven scoreless frames with six punchouts.
The Isotopes tallied singles off Shipley in the first, second and third innings, but their first true scoring chances came in the fifth and sixth. However, the 24-year-old Shipley wriggled free both times. The former Nevada Wolf Pack star eclipsed 100 pitches for a second consecutive start due to back-to-back walks in the sixth, but a lineout to center off the bat of Ryan Casteel prevented further damage.
The Aces totaled just one hit off Hoffman through the first five frames on a Mike Freeman (@MikeBFree5) two-out bloop single to left in the first. Reno’s first golden scoring chance came in the sixth behind an error, sacrifice bunt and Sócrates Brito (@SocratesBrito) single. With runners at the corners and one out, Jack Reinheimer (@Reinheimer_08) bounced into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Reno threatened again in the seventh but couldn’t crack the seal. O’Brien tripled to the wall in center with one away to ignite the 5,957 fans in attendance, but Hoffman struck out Kyle Jensen and retired Zach Borenstein on a deep flyout to end the inning.
The Aces’ bullpen picked off where Shipley left off in the seventh. Dominic Leone (@DLeone54) and Silvino Bracho (@silvinobracho) each delivered two shutout innings to keep the game scoreless. Evan Marshall (@emarsh31) and Matt Capps (@MattCapps55) each followed suit with scoreless innings of their own, setting up O’Brien’s mammoth game-winner.
Shipley extended his team-high scoreless streak to 15 innings in a no-decision. Capps (1-0) picked up the win in his first professional appearance since August 15, 2014. Arrowood (0-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season.
Albuquerque left 11 runners on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Aces hit the highway for a 12-game road trip beginning Monday night with a four-game set in Fresno. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. PT. Reno will send southpaw Edwin Escobar (0-0, -.--) to the bump for his Aces debut against Grizzlies right-hander Brad Peacock (0-0, 3.66).
Reno Aces Press Release