The Aces (0-2) dropped game two of the Pacific Conference Championship best-of-five series 7-2 to the El Paso Chihuahuas (2-0) Thursday evening at Greater Nevada Field. Reno, who collected eight hits and left 10 runners in scoring position one night before, recorded just six hits in game two and were one-for-six with runners in scoring position. El Paso starter Bryan Rodriguez quieted the Aces bats after a seven-inning, five-strikeout performance as Aces righty Taylor Clarke got the loss in his first Triple-A postseason game after tossing four innings. With the loss, the Aces must sweep the next three games to continue their 2017 PCL playoff run.
After three silent innings on each side with four total hits in the ballgame, the Chihuahuas broke into the scoring column in the top of the fourth sparked by Hunter Renfroe's leadoff single to left field. After Christian Villanueva lined out for the first out, Jose Rondon knocked a double down the left field line to give El Paso the 1-0 lead. Dustin Coleman followed suit with a two-run home run to quickly put the Chihuahuas out to a 3-0 advantage.
In the home half of the fourth, Christian Walker put the Aces on the board with a deep solo home run to left center field to minimize the deficit and make it a 3-1 ballgame. El Paso would respond in the fifth after loading the bases with no outs, but reliever Joey Krehbiel would only surrender one of Clarke's runs on base via a sacrifice fly ball to make it a three-run game again.
After stranding two runners in the fifth when Evan Marzilli walked and Ronnie Freeman singled with one out, the Aces found themselves in the biggest scoring opportunity of the night in the seventh inning. Pinch-hitting Rudy Flores ignited the frame with Reno's first leadoff hit of the night and was backed up by two consecutive singles from Jack Reinheimer and Marzilli to score Flores and put both runners in scoring position due to a throwing error at the plate. Freeman walked to reload the bases, still without an out, but Rodriguez set down the next three Aces batters to leave the score at 4-2.
Following Reno's offensive threat, El Paso added three final runs in the eighth and ninth innings on four hits, including a pinch-hit two-run home run by Diego Goris, to make it a final 7-2 contest.
Krehbiel completed the night after two shutdown innings while allowing just two hits and striking out three. Erik Davis tossed a scoreless seventh frame while Aaron Laffey and Andrury Acevedo both allowed a pair of hits and combined for the final three El Paso runs.
The Aces continue the 2017 PCL Pacific Conference championship series tomorrow, September 8, with game three of the best-of-five series against the El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego) scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Southwest University Park.