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Aviators take four of seven from Rainiers in Tacoma

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

Las Vegas Matt Davidson takes hacks from Las Vegas Ballpark. Photo Credit: Terrel Emerson

With the regular season winding to a close, the Las Vegas Aviators were happy to see some W’s on the calendar.

The team most recently won four of seven against the Tacoma Rainiers. The Aviators are now 27-30 on the road this season.

Now, the team has a 55-56 overall record, still good for second in the Pacific Coast League West division. However, the team still sits eight games back of the division leading, Reno Aces. Moreover, the third-place Salt Lake Bees are just two games back of the second place spot held by the Aviators.

The 12-day, 10-game road trip continues for Las Vegas with a trip to Sacramento for a three-game road series against the Sacramento River Cats.

That series is set to begin Monday, Aug. 15 with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

Tuesday, W, 10-4

The losing streak is over as the Aviator offense had to provide several-run leads to their starter not once, but twice.

Las Vegas downed Tacoma, 10-4 in the series opener from Cheney Stadium.

Three straight 1-out hits in the top of the first produced the first run of the day for the road team as the latter two knocks were doubles. A double by catcher Shea Langeliers plated two runs.

Right fielder Luis Barrera knocked in another run on a double with two outs. He had a night at the plate, driving in two more runs in the ninth inning as part of a 2-for-5 night with a single, double, three RBI, a run scored and a strikeout.

Designated hitter David McKinnon also shared in the joy by having a great day at the plate beginning with an RBI single in the top of the first to give Las Vegas a 4-0 lead before Tacoma ever got up to bat.

All of those early runs were needed as Rainier batters jumped on Aviators starter Parker Dunshee right away for a leadoff home run. Tacoma would score another first inning run after three straight one-out hits.

Dunshee would settle in and eventually retired five straight before surrendering a leadoff double in the fourth inning that came around to score as part of a two-run home run to tie it at four apiece, the second longball of the day for the Rainiers.

MacKinnon would play the hero and regain the lead for the Aviators on a three-run blast with one out in the top of the sixth inning. He went 4-for-5 on the night with three singles, a home run, four RBI, a run scored and a strikeout.

Third baseman Sheldon Neuse also added a run to put Las Vegas up 8-4 and allow Dunshee to leave the game in line for the win after allowing four runs on six hits in five innings of work while walking four and striking out one.

The Aviator bullpen saw three baserunners, one via a hit, reach in four innings of work as relievers Aaron Brown and Norge Ruiz logged two apiece.

That duo helped Dunshee (5-9, 7.36 ERA) earn his second win in his last three starts.

Wednesday, L, 3-0

A lack of offense kept Las Vegas from winning back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month, losing 3-0 to Tacoma Wednesday night.

The Aviators were only able to muster three hits on the night, missing out on several opportunities to scratch across a run.

Rainiers’ starter Chris Mazza retired the first eight batters he faced before allowing his first base-runner via a walk issued to shortstop Kevin Smith. Four pitches later, second baseman Nate Mondou recorded the team’s first hit.

With two-on and two out, third baseman Sheldon Neuse struck out on three straight pitches.

Catcher Shea Langeliers led off the top of the fourth with a single but Las Vegas was left without a run after a fielder’s choice, flyout and strikeout ended the inning.

Seven more Aviator batters were sat down in order before a one-out single in the top of the sixth by Neuse. That would serve as the team’s final hit and baserunner with the Rainiers retiring the final 11 straight opposing batters.

Las Vegas starter Collin Wiles had a leadoff single to come around to score on an RBI groundout in the second inning putting Tacoma up, 1-0. Another leadoff runner scored as part of a two-run home run with one out in the bottom of the third inning.

Wiles was able to exercise his demons of sorts after leaving a runner stranded in the fifth after giving up another leadoff single.

After allowing a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh, Wiles’ (8-8, 5.37 ERA) night was done on his way to back-to-back losses. He went 6.1 innings of work, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out nine against just two walks.

He did, however, record his second quality start in his last four chances.

Thursday, L, 12-8

Las Vegas has now lost two games in a row after dropping a Thursday matchup against Tacoma, 12-8.

Starting pitcher Jared Koenig was attacked early by Rainier batters with the home team taking a 1-0 lead after the first four batters of the second inning.

Koenig would eventually allow a two-run double and his second RBI single of the frame before getting out of it. He threw 21 pitches in that second inning.

Left fielder Dalton Kelly did all he could to keep the Aviators in the game, accounting for five of the team’s eight runs scored, behind two longballs.

The first dinger came in the top of the fourth inning, where he knocked in two runs with two outs to put Las Vegas on the board.

He did it again in the sixth inning being the latter of back-to-back hits with two outs. This time his home run drove in three runs and gave the Aviators their first lead of the game at 5-4. Kelly went 3-for-5 with a single, two home runs, five RBI and three runs scored from the nine-hole.

The Las Vegas lead was short-lived as Tacoma had three of the first four reach while a run scored on a double. Koenig’s night was done with that, going 5.1 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Six more runs would cross the plate before the Aviators were able to get out of the sixth inning. Reliever Jacob Lemoine was lit up for four runs on four hits and a walk in just a ⅓ of an inning.

Tacoma added on another run via a home run for insurance in the bottom of the seventh for a 12-5 lead.

Las Vegas would be gifted runs on an RBI walk to second baseman Nate Mondou and a wild pitch.

Center fielder Luis Barrera drove in the team’s final run of the game after first baseman Dermis Garcia got himself into scoring position on a triple.

Friday, W, 5-4

After putting up a big inning late Friday night, the Aviators got their second win of the series, beating the Rainiers, 5-4.

An early one-run lead for the home team wasn’t enough to hold Las Vegas off after a five-run seventh inning. The team scored its first run on a fielder’s choice after having runners on first and third with one out.

Catcher Shea Langeliers put the team ahead with an RBI single before the biggest hit of the inning. He went 2-for-5 with two singles, an RBI, run scored and two strikeouts.

Left fielder Dermis Garcia provided that via a three-run home run with two outs in the seventh putting the Aviators up 5-1. He went 1-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, run scored and a strikeout.

Tacoma’s comeback effort began in the bottom half of the frame when the team hit a two-out, three-run home run to cut the deficit to a run.

Las Vegas’ bullpen settled in and even got out of a situation with runners on second and third with one out. Reliever Norge Ruiz got the force out at home plate for the second out before getting the groundout to get out of the jam.

With one final chance to extend the game, Ruiz left a one-out baserunner stranded after getting back-to-back punchouts to shut the door. Both teams left 20 runners on base.

Ruiz got the five-out save while fellow reliever Garrett Acton got the win to improve to 2-4 on the year.

Pitcher Ken Waldichuk made his second start for the Aviators and was immediately tested. After giving up a leadoff single but that runner would be retired after being rung up in a strikeout, double play.

In the third inning, a leadoff triple came around to score on an RBI single to open the scoring on the night.

Waldichuk would go five full, allowing that lone run on six hits while striking out three and walking one. That’s the lowest run output against him since July 4.

Saturday, W, 9-4 (Game One)

Las Vegas put together back-to-back wins for the first time in over a month after a 9-4 win over Tacoma in the first of a Saturday doubleheader.

Powered by three home runs on the night, the Aviators scored nine runs in a shortened seven-inning ball game.

The first homer came was the final hit of three straight in the top of the second inning, when left fielder Billy McKinney left the yard, giving Las Vegas a 3-0 lead.

He pushed it to a three-run lead again in the top of the fourth inning for his second of the night and his 10th of the year.

Designated hitter Dermis Garcia got in on the action hitting the team’s third home run of the night while tallying his second home in as many games with a fifth-inning blast. His two-run home run gave the Aviators a 6-1 lead.

Las Vegas added two more runs in the inning including one off an RBI double from second baseman Nate Mondou.

Starter Adrian Martinez put forth a complete game-effort, going all seven innings, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out eight and walking two. It’s his third time going seven innings this year and his first complete game.

Martinez (5-6, 5.50 ERA) had lost three straight Triple-A starts but has now collected his first MiLB win since June 19.

Saturday, W, 5-3 (Game Two)

Three straight wins now for Las Vegas after a clean sweep in the Saturday doubleheader with Tacoma, winning the latter game 5-3. With the team the team moves back to a .500 record at 55-55.

It was an early lead that provided enough cushion for the Aviators as the team scored right away to open the game. After a leadoff walk, Las Vegas found itself in a two-on, nobody out situation where it scored a run on a sacrifice fly.

Another leadoff man reached an inning later on a triple before a one-out, RBI single from catcher Beau Taylor. That’s the second RBI in five games for Taylor since returning to the team he once played for in 2019.

After two more runs scored in the inning for a 4-0 Las Vegas advantage, first baseman Dermis Garcia made his presence felt again, knocking home another run on a single with two outs in the inning.

That marked Garcia’s third straight game with an RBI, his sixth in the last three games all in addition to extending his hitting streak to five games.

Las Vegas starter Ty Damron made it out of the fourth but not without dealing with some adversity. He surrendered a one-out solo home run before giving up another solo blast this time with two outs.

Damron allowed those two runs on four hits while striking out six and walking two in his Triple-A debut.

Reliever Aaron Brown recorded a five-out save, the team’s second in three games. He struck out three while only giving up one hit.

Fellow reliever Miguel Romero (1-1, 8.27 ERA) got the win.

Sunday, L, 9-1

The series finale went in favor of the home team to close out a seven-game series, as Tacoma beat Las Vegas, 9-1.

Aviator pitching gave up 11 hits total, eight of which went for extra-bases while losing by a final tally of eight runs.

Starter Parker Dunshee gave up a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the third inning. That would serve as the first of two homers with the Rainiers hitting a second dinger of the frame three batters later for a 3-0 lead.

Dunshee allowed another longball the inning later.

He would give up a fourth and final home run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Tacoma second baseman hit his second moonshot of the night off the Las Vegas starter.

Dunshee (5-10, 7.58 ERA) has now given up 30 home runs in 97.1 innings pitched this season, which leads the team. In this one, he gave up seven runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work while striking out four and walking three.

Las Vegas was only able to muster one run in the offensive-struggle-filled game.

Center fielder Cristian Pache recorded the team’s only RBI via a solo home run with two outs in the top of the fifth inning for his third of the year. He went 1-for-3 with a home run, RBI, run scored and a strikeout.

The only other extra-base hit of the game for the Aviators was a two-out double by right fielder Luis Barrera in the top of the second inning.


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