The Reno Aces leveled their four-game series against the Sacramento River Cats at one game apiece behind the first two-homer performance of Dan Rohlfing’s (@DanRohlfing) career in a 7-3 win on Wednesday night at Greater Nevada Field. The multi-homer effort extended Reno’s single-season record for multi-homer games to an astounding 14, tops in professional baseball.
Rohlfing’s first home run gave the Aces (57-47) a 1-0 lead in the second. The blast marked his first in nearly a calendar year, the last coming on July 30, 2015, with Las Vegas at Sacramento. His second shot, another two-out dinger, broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth and gave Reno the lead for good.
In the third, Sacramento’s Hunter Pence hit his second homer of the series – a two-run shot to right – giving the River Cats (47-58) a 2-1 advantage.
Given the one-run edge, River Cats right-hander Clayton Blackburn tossed three more scoreless innings, but reliever Duke Welker served up four hits in Reno’s four-run sixth to spoil Blackburn’s bid at win No. 6.
Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19) ignited the Aces’ outburst, lacing a one-out double down the left-field line. Moments later, Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42) notched his PCL-leading 89th RBI with a run-scoring single to knot the game at two.
Carlos Rivero (@Carlos_Rivero3) then prolonged the inning with a two-out knock, paving the way for Rohlfing’s three-run homer off Welker.
A pair of spectacular defensive plays by Ildemaro Vargas (@ildemaro_tigre) kept the River Cats at bay, and the 25-year-old played a role in all three of Reno’s double plays turned to prevent Sacramento rallies.
The Aces tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth to cap the scoring. Rivero doubled home Haniger with two away, and Sean Jamieson (@SeanJay04) grounded a pinch-hit RBI single to center for his team-leading seventh pinch-hit base hit of the year.
Anthony Banda (@anthony_banda3) benefited from Rohlfing’s homers, winning his third consecutive start to improve to 3-2 in six starts for the Aces. The southpaw threw six frames of two-run ball, marking his fourth straight outing of six-plus innings with two earned runs allowed. Welker (1-3) suffered the loss.
Sacramento tallied 11 hits to Reno’s 10, but Rohlfing’s three-hit night proved the difference. The Aces won for just the eighth time in 41 games when being outhit by their opponent.
The Aces and River Cats continue their four-game series with game three on Thursday night. First pitch from Greater Nevada Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Reno will send right-hander John Omahen (0-2, 10.91) to the mound, while righty Joan Gregorio (3-6, 5.34) gets the nod for Sacramento.