The Reno Aces secured a winning record against their own division for the sixth consecutive season, defeating the Tacoma Rainiers by a 2-1 score in 11 innings on Friday night before a crowd of 6,043 at Cheney Stadium. Zach Borenstein hit a game-winning solo home run in the 11th inning to reward an excellent night of work by the Reno pitching staff.
One night after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Aces overcame a one-run deficit after seven innings to improve to 37-24 all time at Tacoma, and 83-42 overall in the teams’ series history.
Tacoma (79-61) opened the scoring in the fifth on an RBI double to left field by Mike Baxter, who was thrown out on the play trying to stretch it into a triple. Baxter’s two-base hit scored Zach Shank, who had led off the inning with a single to right.
Reno (75-66) tied the game at 1-1 in the eighth. Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny_19) led off the inning with a double to left, moving up on a sacrifice bunt by Ildemaro Vargas (@ildemaro_tigre) before scoring two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Chris Herrmann.
The game remained deadlocked thru 10 innings until Borenstein lined a 1-1 pitch from Emilio Pagan out to right field for a solo home run to put Reno ahead 2-1. The blast marked the Aces’ third extra-inning homer of the season, following Peter O’Brien’s walk-off shot against Albuquerque on May 1 and Tuffy Gosewisch’s (@santiagosewisch) game-winning dinger at Round Rock on May 29.
Borenstein went 2-for-4 on the night, recording his second two-hit game of the current road trip (also: Monday at Sacramento). Vargas paced all players with three knocks, notching his sixth contest with three or more hits in 46 Triple-A games. Herrmann’s sac fly in the eighth marked his first RBI in four games with Reno during his current rehab assignment.
Anthony Banda (@anthony_banda3) did not factor in the decision after he worked seven innings of one-run ball, scattering three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts to deliver his fifth quality start in his last six outings. The Aces’ bullpen tallied five strikeouts against just one hit allowed over four frames. Adam Loewen (5-3) worked the 10th to earn the win, while Jimmie Sherfy pitched the 11th to nail down his 12th save in 14 chances for Reno and his 30th in 32 opportunities overall this year.
With the victory, the Aces now are 25-20 this season against the Pacific Northern Division with three games remaining. Reno has played .500 or better against its own division in seven of the team’s eight seasons (2009, 2011-present).
The Aces continue their season-ending road trip with game two of a four-game set on Saturday night at Tacoma. First pitch from Cheney Stadium is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Reno has not named a starter, while the Rainiers will send right-hander Zach Lee (0-8, 7.08) to the mound.