A safety squeeze in the sixth inning lifted the Salt Lake Bees to a narrow 4-2 win over the Reno Aces on Monday night at Greater Nevada Field. Quintin Berry placed the well-executed go-ahead bunt, clinching the season series for Salt Lake over Reno with two games remaining between the clubs.
The Aces (62-55) squandered an early 2-0 lead and fell 6.5 games back of Tacoma with the defeat.
Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42) jumpstarted Reno in the second, doubling to left-center against southpaw Chris Jones. Zach Borenstein then moved Jensen to third with a single before Ed Lucas (@ELuke21) singled to deep right, making it 1-0. Todd Glaesmann (@toddglaesmann22) followed suit with a run-scoring single up the middle, scoring Borenstein from second.
After posting four scoreless innings, Aces right-hander Matt Koch (@mattykoch20) ran into trouble in the fifth and sixth. A two-out walk in the fifth preceded a grounder to first that caromed off Jensen’s glove for an error. Sherman Johnson – who worked the free pass – hustled to third on the play, forcing an errant throw by right fielder Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19) for Salt Lake’s first run.
The Bees (54-60) grabbed the lead in the ensuing frame on three hits and Berry’s tiebreaking bunt. Todd Cunningham doubled into the right-field corner to begin the inning, and two batters later, raced home on a Kaleb Cowart single to center. Daniel Nava then singled to right to move Cowart to third, who eventually scored the deciding run.
Salt Lake added a big insurance run in the ninth against Daniel Gibson (@d_gibs_6), using a single, sacrifice bunt, groundout and wild pitch to provide the final margin.
Lucas worked a two-out walk in the home half of the sixth, and Glaesmann walked with two outs in the ninth, representing Reno’s lone baserunners over the final four innings.
Koch (0-2) suffered another tough-luck loss, allowing three runs – two earned – on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings. Jones (5-9) earned the win with six innings of two-run ball. The victory marked his third against Reno this season. Javy Guerra worked a scoreless ninth for his ninth save in as many opportunities.
Borenstein finished with two hits in four at-bats, while Lucas reached base three times on a single and two walks.
The Aces and Bees continue their four-game series with game three on Tuesday night. First pitch from Greater Nevada Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Reno will send right-hander Shelby Miller (3-0, 3.65) to the bump, opposite Bees righty Troy Scribner (1-1, 0.56).