Anthony Banda (@anthony_banda3) hurled seven innings of one-run ball as the Reno Aces opened up a four-game series with an 8-4 win over the Salt Lake Bees on Sunday night at Greater Nevada Field. The left-hander struck out eight en route to his fifth quality start in eight Triple-A outings.
Reno (62-54) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning behind two hits and a walk. Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42) opened the frame with a free pass against Nate Smith, and after a bloop single off the bat of Carlos Rivero (@Carlos_Rivero3), scored on a two-out knock by Ed Lucas (@ELuke21).
Salt Lake (53-60) leveled the score in the third, thanks to a Geovany Soto opposite-field homer. The blast was Soto’s first on his current Major League rehab assignment.
The Aces broke the 1-1 deadlock in the fourth after Peter O’Brien and Jack Reinheimer (@Reinheimer_08) collected singles. With the duo at the corners, Reinheimer broke for second and O’Brien hustled home to complete the double steal, giving Reno a 2-1 advantage.
Back-to-back three-run innings in the sixth and seventh provided plenty of breathing room for the Aces, who snapped a three-game skid with the victory. Three hits, an error, walk and hit batter helped make it 5-1. After Lucas doubled off the left-field wall, Ildemaro Vargas (@ildemaro_tigre) lined a run-scoring single to right-center, pushing Reno’s lead to two. Three batters later, Jensen dumped a two-run single into left field.
Reno loaded the bases in the ensuing frame, setting up a Dan Rohlfing (@DanRohlfing) sacrifice fly. Vargas notched his fourth hit of the night in the next at-bat, doubling down the left-field line, giving the Aces eight runs after they totaled nine runs over their previous five games at Salt Lake.
Kaleb Cowart hit a two-out, two-run shot in the top of the eighth to cut Salt Lake’s deficit to five, and the Bees’ final tally scored on a double play in the ninth.
Banda (4-3) scattered four hits and did not walk a batter for the first time in 21 starts this year between Double-A Mobile and Reno. His eight strikeouts marked his highest total for the Aces. Smith (7-6) suffered his second career loss at Greater Nevada Field, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
Vargas led the Aces offensively, recording his first four-hit and three-RBI performance at the Triple-A level, racking up a pair of doubles along the way. Lucas finished with three hits in four trips to the plate, raising his average to .409 (9-for-22) against Salt Lake.
The Aces and Bees continue their four-game series with game two on Monday night. First pitch from Greater Nevada Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Reno will send right-hander Matt Koch (0-1, 2.70) to the bump, opposite Bees southpaw Chris Jones (4-9, 7.19).
Reno Aces Press Release