The Reno Aces swept the El Paso Chihuahuas in an unscheduled doubleheader Sunday evening after a rainout Saturday night, improving to a league-best 51 wins. The Aces marked their third shutout of the season after blanking El Paso 12-0 in the first seven-inning matchup and were again victorious in game two 4-2 thanks to a fifth-inning, three-run rally. Christian Walker highlighted the offense on the day after finishing 4-for-6 with his 20th home run and five RBI in game one to bring his Minor League-leading count to 84.
The Aces, who have been quieted offensively as of late, released some frustration in game one against the Chihuahuas after topping and shutting out El Paso 12-0. Reno put up three runs in the third and fourth innings and blew the game open with a six-run fifth inning coming on five hits. Christian Walker and Kevin Medrano both finished with three-hit games. Walker finished a double shy of the cycle and batted in five RBI for the third time this season.
Aces starter Eric Jokisch led the squad to the team's third shutout of the season, finishing after allowing just two lone hits in five and two-third innings and five strikeouts in game one. He collected his fourth straight win while improving to 7-3 on the year. Right-handed reliever Louis Coleman finished Jokisch's gem after one and one-third hitless, scoreless innings of his own in his fourth Aces appearance.
In game two, after each side scratched across a run in the second inning, the Aces fired the bats back up in the fifth to break the long-standing tie, going up by three runs. On a full-count pitch, Socrates Brito smashed a two-run home run to right field, scoring starting pitcher Frank Duncan, who led the inning off with his third hit of the season, making it a 3-1 Aces advantage. After Medrano doubled following the home run, Walker reached base on a catcher's interference and Jeremy Hazelbaker singled to plate Medrano. Brito finished his night going 3-for-4 with his third three-RBI game.
The Chihuahuas, who collected six hits off of Duncan through the first four innings, responded with three more in the bottom of the fifth, including a solo home run from Ryan Schimpf, to bring the El Paso squad within two runs. Duncan exited the game after Nick Buss followed the home run with a triple. He finished after four and two-third innings pitched with two runs allowed on nine hits. Jake Barrett would come in to close the fifth with a one-pitch out.
After a scoreless sixth inning tossed by righty reliever Silvino Bracho, All-Star relief pitcher Jimmie Sherfy collected his 10th save prior to the mid-season break. After getting two quick outs in the first two batters faced in the seventh, Sherfy delivered Schimpf a 1-2 pitch which he hit high and just over the right field fence, his second home run of the game, and made it a one-run ballgame. However, Sherfy closed out the game one batter later with a pop fly out to end game two.
The two wins hold the Aces' six-game lead over Fresno, who have won ten games straight. The Aces continue the four-game series against the El Paso Chihuahuas with the final game tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. at Southwest University Park. Reno returns to Greater Nevada Field for the July 4 Independence Day celebration with three games against Tacoma before hitting the road for a three-game series against Fresno prior to the All-Star break.
Reno Aces Press Release