Austin Hedges hit a three-run, walk-off home run off Dominic Leone (@dleone54) with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the El Paso Chihuahuas defeated the Reno Aces, 4-1, on Sunday night to close a four-game series before 9,822 fans at Southwest University Park.
With the victory in the teams’ final regular-season meeting, El Paso (49-34) improved to 9-7 this year against Reno to win the season series for the first time since the Padres’ top affiliate relocated to Texas before the 2014 campaign. The Chihuahuas outscored the Aces 110-94 over the 16 games, marking a sharp increase in offense over last year, when El Paso held a 68-65 advantage over Reno.
The Aces (43-40) got on the board with a run in the top of the first. Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19) roped a two-out single up the middle before stealing second with Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42) at bat. The Triple-A RBI leader then drove in Haniger with a base hit to center. El Paso tied the game at one run apiece in the home half on a two-out solo home run by Hunter Renfroe.
A pitchers’ duel ensued, as neither club was able to score again thru the eighth inning. Carlos Asuaje started the Chihuahuas’ ninth-inning rally with a one-out single to center before Renfroe did the same. On the fifth pitch of the next at-bat, Hedges took a 1-2 offering from Leone out to center field to secure El Paso’s win. In 14 games against Reno this season, the Chihuahuas catcher batted .473 (26-for-55) with eight home runs and 26 RBI.
Edwin Escobar continued his strong pitching on the road, allowing one earned run on nine hits (one home run) over six innings with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 104 pitches, 64 for strikes. The outing marked the southpaw’s fifth consecutive quality start on the road dating back to May 12. The Venezuela native now has a 1.62 ERA (7 ER/39.0 IP) in seven games away from the Biggest Little City. Leone took the loss for Reno to fall to 4-2 on the season.
Right-hander Bryan Rodriguez pitched eight innings for El Paso, allowing one earned run on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout. Frank Garces (2-3) worked the ninth to earn the win.
Jensen went 2-for-4 with his 25th double of the year, which is tied for second in the Pacific Coast League. Haniger also had two hits in four at-bats, notching his 11th multi-hit game in 24 contests with the Aces since being promoted from Double-A Mobile on June 10.
The Aces return home for the opener of a three-game series against the division-leading Tacoma Rainiers on Monday at Greater Nevada Field. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. PT. Right-hander Braden Shipley (6-4, 3.81) gets the nod for Reno, while righty Zach Lee (0-1, 9.00) will start for Tacoma. For the Fourth of July holiday, the Aces will host the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Independence Day Celebration presented by Channel 2 News, including the largest fireworks display in Reno-Sparks.
Reno Aces Press Release