Aces Win Series Opener With Tacoma
The Reno Aces hit two inside-the-park home runs in a game for the first time in franchise history on Wednesday night, scoring in all eight of their at-bats during a 13-7 victory over the Tacoma Rainiers .
The Reno Aces hit two inside-the-park home runs in a game for the first time in franchise history on Wednesday night, scoring in all eight of their at-bats during a 13-7 victory over the Tacoma Rainiers in the first game of a critical Pacific Northern Division series.
The contest was high-scoring from the outset, as Tacoma sent 10 men to the plate while scoring five runs on seven hits in the top of the first. A leadoff double preceded five consecutive singles, and another run-scoring base hit followed a strikeout to give the Rainiers an early 5-0 lead.
Reno (70-62) pulled to within one run at 5-4 in the second on a solo shot by Carlos Rivero (@Carlos_Rivero3), his 16th home run of the season to match his career-high for a single season (also: 2011). The fireworks continued for the home team in the following frame, as Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42) drove a 1-1 pitch from Zach Lee deep to center field over the head of Tacoma’s Ryan Strausborger and then raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run to tie the game. It marked Reno’s first inside-the-parker since Didi Gregorius hit one against Albuquerque on April 8, 2014, at Greater Nevada Field.
The Aces took a 6-5 lead in the fourth. Peter O’Brien led off the inning with a double to center, moving up on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on an RBI single though the left side by Dan Rohlfing (@DanRohlfing). Tacoma (75-56) re-tied the game at six in the fifth with a ground-rule double and a run-scoring base hit.
The home team took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Brito led off with an infield single and then raced around to score from first on a base hit by Pollock. Jensen was hit by a pitch, and a groundout and an O’Brien walk loaded the bases. Sacramento reliever Kevin Munson threw a wild pitch to his first batter, allowing Pollock to score from third. Jack Reinheimer (@Reinheimer_08) finished the at-bat with a sacrifice fly to score Jensen from third before O’Brien was thrown out at third to end the inning.
Rohlfing notched his second RBI in the sixth, raising the Aces’ lead to 10-6 on a one-out solo home run to right. Zach Borenstein set up another Reno run after the seventh-inning stretch, leading off with a single through the right side. He moved up on a walk and a groundout before teaming with Reinheimer to execute a double-steal and extend the advantage to five.
Brito secured this game’s place in the history books in the eighth, starting the inning with an inside-the-park home run to center that was nearly identical to Jensen’s. Pollock continued the onslaught with a double, moving to third and then scoring on a pair of groundouts.
The Rainiers completed the scoring in the ninth, hitting a two-out double to set up an RBI single and produce the final margin at 13-7.
The Aces now have hit eight inside-the-park home runs in franchise history, and have now accomplished the feat twice in a season on two occasions. In 2013, Tony Campana and Chris Owings bookended a four-game series against Colorado Springs with inside-the-park homers in the first and fourth games.
Brito went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI on the night, notching his team-best fourth four-hit game of the season. Jensen was 3-for-5 with three runs scored a four RBI, recording his fourth game of four or more RBI to tie O’Brien for the team lead. Rohlfing added his ninth multi-hit game in 36 contests with Reno this season.
After the five-run first inning, Aces starter Matt Koch (@mattykoch20) settled down to allow just one more run over the following six frames. He pitched seven or more innings for the third straight start, yielding a total of six earned runs on 13 hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The former Louisville Cardinal improved to 3-2, throwing a season-high 119 pitches (79 strikes).
With Wednesday’s win, the Aces narrowed Tacoma’s division lead to 5.5 games. Reno is 6-2 this season against the Rainiers, and has now won 43 of the teams’ 60 all-time meetings in the Biggest Little City.
The Aces and Rainiers continue their five-game series on Thursday night. First pitch from Greater Nevada Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Shelby Miller (5-1, 3.52) will get the ball for Reno, while Tacoma will send righty Sam Gaviglio (3-1, 2.58) to the mound.