Mired in an offensive slump, the Reno Aces could not bust free against Matt Shoemaker and the Salt Lake Bees in a 6-1 loss Friday night at Smith’s Ballpark. Right-hander Braden Shipley (@shipley25) delivered a third consecutive quality start but received just one run of support behind Peter O’Brien’s PCL-leading ninth home run of the season.
Salt Lake (16-13) cracked the scoring against Shipley (2-2) in the first, snapping his scoreless streak at 15 1/3 innings. Back-to-back one-out singles by Todd Cunningham and former Aces outfielder Nick Buss set up a Jefry Marte sacrifice fly, securing the lead for good.
The Bees added another run in the third behind a two-out double from Kyle Kubitza to make it 2-0.
The Aces totaled six hits and two walks against Shoemaker (1-0) over the first six innings, but failed to record a clutch hit. Reno (12-16) left a total of seven runners on base against Shoemaker, including five in scoring position.
O’Brien opened the fourth with a solo shot to left to cut the deficit in half. Shoemaker recovered momentarily by striking out the next two batters, but a pair of two-out singles and a walk loaded the bases for Tuffy Gosewisch (@santiagosewisch). Making his tenth career start against Reno, Shoemaker calmly retired the Aces’ catcher on a groundout to second.
The lack of clutch hits continued against Salt Lake’s bullpen. Trailing by one into the seventh, the Aces put runners at first and third with no outs following a Gosewisch walk and Jason Bourgeois (@jbourgeois11) single. Bees reliever Deolis Guerra induced a 6-2 fielder’s choice off the bat of Sócrates Brito @SocratesBrito) for the first out. He then struck out O’Brien and Kyle Jensen to erase the threat.
In the home half, the Bees tacked on three insurance runs against Reno’s bullpen, two on a two-out double by Rey Navarro.
Buss added his fourth hit and second triple of the night in the eighth, plating Cunningham who doubled with one away, extending the Bees’ lead to 6-1.
In fitting fashion, the Aces loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Mike Freeman (@MikeBFree5) flew out to Buss in left. Reno stranded a season-high 13 runners on base and went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Reno continues its 12-game road trip on Saturday night with game two of a four-game series at Salt Lake. First pitch is set for 5:35 p.m. PT. Reno will send left-hander Edwin Escobar (0-0, 6.00) to the mound, while the Bees will counter with southpaw Chris Jones (1-2, 7.77).