Aces Fall 3-1 in Game One of Pacific Conference Championship
The Aces (0-1) fell 3-1 in game one of the Pacific Conference Championship series to the El Paso Chihuahuas (1-0) on a stormy Wednesday evening at Greater Nevada Field. Aces righty Jake Buchanan tossed the first matchup of the series with seven innings of three-run ball on nine hits while striking out six. Reno's offense only produced one run behind Buchanan on eight hits and went 0-for-10 on the night with runners in scoring position versus El Paso's nine hits and 1-for-10 RISP.
After getting around a two-out double by Franchy Cordero in the top of the first, the Aces came out swinging with one-out consecutive singles by Emilio Bonifacio and Christian Walker to put runners on the corners. Zach Borenstein followed with a soft groundball to the pitcher, but an aggressive Bonifacio was tossed out at the plate for the second out and the inning was ended a batter later after Socrates Brito struck out to leave the game scoreless.
In the home second, the Aces got things going again quickly when Jack Reinheimer struck a triple to right field and scored on Evan Marzilli's groundout to first base, giving Reno the 1-0 advantage. Ronnie Freeman restarted the momentum with a double but was unable to score after a groundout and pop up.
In the fourth, El Paso took over on the board after Hunter Renfroe knocked a home run to left field to bring the game to a 1-1 tie. Nick Buss followed with a double and would score on Jose Rondon's two-out single to give them the 2-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth, after Reno stranded two more in scoring position in the home fourth, the Chihuahuas scored for a second consecutive frame sparked by Travis Jankowski's leadoff single. After the single, Franchy Cordero doubled to put runners on the corners and Jankowski was plated on Renfroe's groundout to third to extend their lead to 3-1.
The Aces had two final big opportunities to plate runners in the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Ildemaro Vargas collected a one-out triple, but was stranded following a strikeout and groundout. In the eighth inning, Socrates Brito hit a one-out double and was left on base after a groundout and infield pop up.
Chihuahuas' starter Chris Huffman sealed the win after his one-run, six-hit performance over six and one-third innings. Following Buchanan, reliever Kaleb Fleck would keep El Paso hitless and surrendered just one walk while striking out three in his two innings of work.
The Aces continue the 2017 PCL Pacific Conference championship series tomorrow, September 7, with game two of the best-of-five series against the El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego) scheduled for 7:05 p.m.