Las Vegas had to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat in back-to-back games in order to take two of three away from Sacramento at Las Vegas Ballpark this past weekend.
The Aviators were able to secure their third straight series win and have now taken 14 of the 18 meetings this season against the River Cats. Over the last week, Las Vegas took four of the six games against Sacramento.
Currently, the Aviators sit in second place of the Pacific Coast League West division at 59-58. It’s the first time the team has been over .500 since Aug. 4. As of now, the team is eight games back of the Reno Aces for tops in the division.
The nine-game homestand will continue for Las Vegas as it prepares to welcome in the Sugar Land Space Cowboys for a six-game series set to begin Tuesday, Aug. 23.
First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. from LVBP.
This season, the Aviators are 0-3 against the Space Cowboys after being swept in Texas back in June.
Friday, L, 5-4
The home losing streak continued for Las Vegas as it dropped the opener of a three-game series against Sacramento, 5-4, from Las Vegas Ballpark.
Prior to this outing, the Aviators were 6-0 at home against the River Cats this season. The team has now lost seven straight home games, 11 of its last 12 and it is now 28-27 from its home venue.
Las Vegas had to take the good with the bad from starting pitcher Adrian Martinez who gave up a full-count home run with one out in the first inning.
He would settle down, however, striking out five straight Sacramento batters before giving up a leadoff home run in the top of the third to tie the game at two apiece.
Martinez (5-7, 5.72 ERA) would give up his third home run of the game in the same inning, this time a two-run shot with one out to give the River Cats their first lead of the game. He has now given up 24 home runs this year.
Martinez gave up four runs on four hits in three innings of work, striking out five and walking one.
Sacramento would hit its fourth home run of the game off reliever Aaron Brown in the sixth inning for a much-needed insurance run.
All four runs on the other end came from shortstop Kevin Smith after he recorded two-run singles in the second and sixth innings. He went 2-for-4 with two singles, four RBI and two strikeouts.
Smith now has 22 RBI in 51 games played with Las Vegas this season.
Saturday, W, 12-8
Las Vegas got back to .500 by earning its first win of this three-game home series against Sacramento, 12-8.
The team had to come from behind two separate times before a big eighth inning lifted the team for good.
Three straight 1-out hits in the bottom of the eighth plated two runs on a two-run triple by second baseman Jordan Diaz. Earlier in the third inning, Diaz drove in another run on a single for the team’s first run of the game.
He was one of four Las Vegas batters to record two hits on the night, going 2-for-5 with a single, triple, three RBI, run scored and a strikeout.
The biggest swing of the eighth inning came off the bat of designated hitter Dermis Garcia, who hit a three-run home run after Sacramento had intentionally walked third baseman Matt Davidson.
That marked the fourth home run in the last nine games for Garcia.
Las Vegas hit three home runs on the night beginning in the fourth inning when shortstop Kevin Smith pulled off the three-run shot with one out in the frame to bring the home team within a run of the lead, his first with Las Vegas. That third run RBI single from Diaz scored Smith after he led off the inning with a walk.
To this point in the series, Smith is 3-for-7 with seven RBI and six total bases. In addition, he scored or drove in the first eight Aviators runs of this series.
Left fielder Luis Barrera hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning to give Las Vegas its first lead of the game.
Starting pitcher Collin Wiles was in line for the win after the Barrera home run after a pretty rough start to the game.
In the first inning, Wiles coughed up the lead on a two-run home run by Sacramento designated hitter David Villar. That hit extended his hitting streak to six games.
Villar is now 8-for-19 in the last five games against Las Vegas including three home runs in the last two games.
Wiles would give up back-to-back home runs in the top of the fourth inning to put the River Cats up, 5-1.
By the end of the night, Wiles would work 5.2 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts to no walks.
He has now reached at least five innings in 21 of his 23 appearances.
Sunday, W, 6-3
More eighth inning runs catapulted Las Vegas to a second straight win and third straight series win after beating Sacramento, 6-3 in the Sunday series finale.
A night after posting five eighth inning runs on the way to a win, the Aviators duplicated their performance Sunday night, sending 10 batters to the plate.
Catcher Beau Taylor got things started with a solo home run with one out in the inning to cut the deficit to a run. He now has 10 total hits, six extra-base hits, in 10 games played with Las Vegas this season.
Two batters later, first baseman Dermis Garcia gave the Aviators their first lead of the game via a two-run home run that was measured at 479 feet. That marked the 13th home run of the year for Garcia while picking up his fifth long ball in the last 10 games.
Both teams were scoreless until the fifth inning with both teams limited to just two hits apiece through the first five innings.
Right fielder Luis Barrera knocked in the first run of the game for Las Vegas in the fifth inning on an RBI single that scored left fielder Vince Fernandez.
Starting pitcher Jared Koenig was let off the hook by the late win in a game that he dominated early on. In the first inning, he worked around a single and an error to strike out the side. He also struck out the first two batters of the third inning for five strikeouts through the game’s first 10 batters.
Former Aviator Drew Jackson scored the game’s first run off a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning. Jackson was released by the Oakland Athletics organization July 28 before being signed by the San Francisco Giants about a week later.
Koenig would serve up back-to-back homers in the sixth inning as Las Vegas fell behind 3-1.
Koenig would go six full, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking one.
Pitcher Ty Damron picked up his first Triple-A win of his career out of the bullpen while reliever Garrett Acton recorded his third save of the season.