After being shut out through the first six frames, the Reno Aces totaled five runs in the seventh and eighth innings to earn a 5-2 victory over the Memphis Redbirds on Friday night in the finale of the teams’ four-game series at AutoZone Park. Aces starting pitcher Matt Koch (@mattykoch20) continued to thrive in Triple-A, and Reno pounded out 11 hits over the final three frames after recording just three knocks in the first six innings.
The Redbirds opened the scoring with a run in the second. Carson Kelly started a rally with a one-out single, advancing to second on Nick Martini’s base hit and then scoring on a double down the right-field line off the bat of Alex Mejia.
The teams traded zeroes for the next four innings until Peter O’Brien led off the seventh with home run to left field that evened the score at 1-1 and chased Memphis starter Deck McGuire. Following a bunt groundout, four consecutive Reno batters reached base to give the Aces a 2-1 lead, including an RBI single by Dan Rohlfing (@DanRohlfing) and a bunt base hit by Koch.
Reno (68-59) extended its lead to four runs in the eighth. Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42) led off the frame with a single to center, and Carlos Rivero (@Carlos_Rivero3) made the score 4-1 with a two-run home run that went just inside the left-field foul pole. Todd Glaesmann (@toddglaesmann22) followed with a single to right and then raced around to score on Rohlfing’s RBI double.
Memphis (60-66) cut Reno’s advantage to 5-2 in the home half, but would get no closer. Mejia led off with a single, advancing to third on a groundout and a fielding error before scoring on Breyvic Valera’s sacrifice fly. After the home team loaded the bases with a double and a walk, left-hander Yuhei Nakaushiro ended the threat with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Jacob Wilson.
Koch (2-2) delivered his fourth quality start in as many Triple-A outings, evening his record as he pitched seven innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with one walk and one strikeout. Closer Jimmie Sherfy worked a scoreless ninth, allowing a hit and striking out two to earn his ninth save in 10 chances for Reno.
O’Brien’s home run was the 49th of his career in an Aces uniform, putting him on the cusp of becoming the third player in team history to reach the 50-homer plateau (Brandon Allen, Mike Jacobs – 55 each). Jack Reinheimer (@Reinheimer_08) went 3-for-4 to post his second three-hit game in three nights, and Rivero and Rohlfing each had a pair of hits while driving in two runs apiece.
The Aces begin their final regular-season homestand with the opener of a four-game series against the Sacramento River Cats on Saturday night. First pitch from Greater Nevada Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Shelby Miller (4-1, 3.55) will get the ball for Reno, while Sacramento will send righty Joan Gregorio (4-7, 5.59) to the mound.