One night removed from an eight-run ninth that dealt the Aces a shocking 10-4 loss, Reno used a six-run seventh to cap a ferocious comeback and eventual 12-7 win over the Fresno Grizzlies on Sunday night at Greater Nevada Field. Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19) led the offense, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored.
Trailing 5-0 through three innings, Reno (60-48) mounted its comeback in the middle innings. Facing former Aces hurler Cesar Valdez – one of the Pacific Coast League’s best pitchers in 2016 – the Aces plated three runs in the fourth. Haniger doubled and scored on an RBI single by Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42), before Zach Borenstein pelted a run-scoring triple into the right-field corner to make it 5-2. One out later, Gabby Guerrero singled home Borenstein with a rocket to center.
The score remained 5-3 until Jensen powered an opposite-field home run to right in the sixth, bringing the Aces within one. The blast was his 23rd of the season and gave him a career-high 93 RBI with 36 games remaining on the schedule.
Fresno (58-49) tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh against Alexi Ogando (@OgandoAlexi) behind a Colin Moran RBI single and Max Stassi run-scoring double, but Reno responded in the home half, erupting for a six-spot on six hits, sending 11 batters to the plate.
Carlos Rivero (@Carlos_Rivero3) singled off Valdez to start the rally, scoring moments later on an RBI two-bagger by Dan Rohlfing (@DanRohlfing). Fresh out of the bullpen, Reymin Guduan uncorked a wild pitch before Ildemaro Vargas tallied his second hit of the night, bringing home Rohlfing to pull Reno back within one.
The hit parade continued on back-to-back singles by Jack Reinheimer (@Reinheimer_08) and Haniger, the latter leveling the score at seven. After a strikeout and walk reloaded the bases, Peter O’Brien lifted a high popup for an infield fly play, but the ball landed on dirt near second and Reinheimer sprinted home, giving the Aces their first lead of the night.
Following another pitching change, a passed ball by Stassi allowed Haniger to score from third. Rivero then became the third Aces player in 2016 to notch multiple hits in a single inning, lofting an RBI single down the right-field line.
The Grizzlies threatened in the eighth against southpaw Daniel Gibson (@d_gibs_6), loading the bases with two away, but Kaleb Fleck (@k_fleck) was summoned from the ‘pen for the final out. The right-hander then finished off the Grizzlies 1-2-3 in the ninth for his first save.
Ogando (1-0) was credited with the win, despite allowing two earned runs on three hits in one inning. Guduan fell to 0-3 after recording just one out while yielding four earned runs on three hits and a walk.
Fresno jumped on Aces starter Matt Buschmann (@Busch26) for five runs through the first three innings, highlighted by a two-run homer off the bat of Moran.
Haniger’s strong showing crowned an impressive July, a month in which he hit .402 (45-for-112) with 11 home runs, a triple, 13 doubles, 35 RBI, 30 runs scored, .449 on-base percentage, .830 slugging percentage and 1.279 OPS in 28 games. He led all Triple-A players in average, hits, runs, extra-base hits, home runs, RBI, slugging and OPS during the stretch.
With the victory, the Aces (60-48) pulled within three games of the Tacoma Rainiers for first place in the Pacific Northern Division.
The Aces and Grizzlies continue their four-game series with game three on Monday night. First pitch from Greater Nevada Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Reno will send right-hander Mat to the mound, while righty Cesar Valdez (9-1, 3.20) gets the ball for Fresno.
Reno Aces Press Release