Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19) belted a grand slam to give Reno a five-run lead, but the Tacoma Rainiers scored six runs over the final three innings – including four in the ninth – to beat the Aces, 8-7, on Sunday afternoon at Cheney Stadium.
Seeking his 31st save of the season, Aces closer Jimmie Sherfy walked two of the first three batters he faced to set up Tacoma’s final rally. Nori Aoki and Mike Freeman clubbed back-to-back singles to make it 7-5. Stefen Romero then brought the Rainiers within one run on a sacrifice fly to center, before Rob Brantly capped Tacoma’s ninth walk-off victory with a two-run double to the gap in right-center.
Tacoma (80-62) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a two-out, two-run shot by Freeman. Reno (76-67) responded in the fifth with a pair of runs on three hits and an error, leveling the score at 2-2.
Two frames later, the Aces erupted for five runs against Sam Gaviglio and Kraig Sitton. Carlos Rivero (@Carlos_Rivero3) opened the seventh with his career-high 18th home run. Later in the inning, Haniger’s grand slam sailed inside the left-field foul pole, giving Reno a 7-2 advantage. The grand slam was the sixth hit by the Aces in 2016, and second of Haniger’s career with the first coming on August 20, 2014, in the Arizona League.
The Rainiers plated two runs after the stretch against Steve Hathaway (@Mr_Hath), highlighted by a run-scoring double off the bat of Daniel Robertson.
Former Aces reliever Kevin Munson (2-1) got the win for Tacoma with two perfect innings in relief, while Freeman led the Rainiers’ offense with four hits and three RBI. Sherfy (1-4) was tagged with his third blown save of the year in the loss.
Ildemaro Vargas (@ildemaro_tigre) collected three of Reno’s eight hits, giving him eight knocks through the first three games of the series. In 48 Triple-A games since July 17, he’s racked up 69 hits to pace all of professional baseball.
The Aces conclude their 2016 season with the finale on Labor Day at Tacoma. First pitch from Cheney Stadium is set for 1:35 p.m. PT. Reno will send right-hander Billy Buckner (1-1, 6.00) to the bump, while the Rainiers will counter with righty Joe Wieland (13-6, 5.54) to the mound.
Reno Aces Press Release