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Aviators continue demolition of River Cats, taking 4 of 6

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Seeing a familiar face from the Pacific Coast League West division recently allowed the Las Vegas Aviators to steady a rocking ship. At least for the time being.

Las Vegas took four of six games away from Sacramento to improve to 18-6 against the River Cats this season.

Overall, the Aviators are now 67-68 on the year and continue to hold still in the second spot in the PCL West standings. The deficit is still eight games behind the first-place Reno Aces with time ticking away.

Las Vegas will have its chance to make up that room in the standings directly when it hosts Reno on the backend of a 12-game homestand, the team’s final home stretch of the year.

But first, the Aviators will welcome in the Tacoma Rainiers for a six-game series that is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Sept. 15.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from Las Vegas Ballpark.

Tuesday, W, 8-1

Las Vegas continued its season-long thrashing of Sacramento, adding a 8-1 win over the team in the last meeting between the pair.

This season, the Aviators have taken 15 of 19 against the River Cats.

Las Vegas scored seven of its eight runs in three of the final four innings of the game. In addition, the team tallied eight of its 10 hits during that stretch.

With one out in the top of the sixth inning, four straight Aviator batters reached, two of which scored.

Catcher Beau Taylor opened things with an RBI single before first baseman Matt Davidson plated three on a three-run home run. By the end of the frame, Las Vegas was up 5-1.

An inning later, second baseman Jordan Diaz drove in two runs on a double with two outs in the inning for a 7-1 lead. He went 3-for-5 with two singles, a double, two RBI and a run scored.

Shortstop Kevin Smith was responsible for the team’s final run of the night on an RBI single with one out in the eight inning. Smith went 2-for-4 with a single, double, RBI and two strikeouts.

Designated hitter Billy McKinney first gave the road team the lead on a solo shot in the top of the second inning with two outs recorded.

Starting pitcher Collin Wiles dominated from the jump in this outing, retiring the first seven batters he faced.

In fact, Wiles kept Sacramento scoreless until the fifth inning when the team scratched a run across on an RBI single.

Wiles (9-11, 5.49 ERA) worked five full innings, giving up a run on five hits while striking out two.

Wednesday, L, 7-6

A six-run second inning erased an early lead as Las Vegas dropped the second game of a scheduled six-game series against Sacramento, 7-6.

The Aviators were able to battle back and tie the game at six apiece but were never able to regain the lead.

Three straight hits opened the game for the road team with the second hit producing a run on an RBI double from center fielder Skye Bolt. The game was Bolt’s first time back with Las Vegas since June 29.

An inning later, second baseman Nate Mondou dittoed Bolt’s RBI double with one of his own with two outs in the frame to put Las Vegas up 2-0.

The trouble came in the bottom of the second inning when Sacramento scored six runs beginning with a two-run single from designated hitter Willie Calhoun with one out recorded.

After a mound visit and pitcher's step-off, the biggest swing of the inning scored four via a grand slam on a 3-1 count off Aviators starter Parker Dunshee.

Dunshee would go no further than that second inning, as he left the game after giving up six runs on five hits. He now has an 8.61 ERA this season.

Right fielder Mickey McDonald started the comeback effort for Las Vegas on a two-run double as the first four reached in the inning. Bolt and designated hitter Jordan Diaz scored runs on an RBI groundout and RBI sacrifice fly to tie the game at six apiece, the second tie of the game.

River Cats first baseman Yermin Mercedes played hero for the home team as his go-ahead home run on the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning proved to be the deciding run of the game.

That home run was hit off of Las Vegas pitcher Brent Honeywell Jr., who dropped to 0-2 this season with a 10.38 ERA.

Thursday, W, 11-5

Back-to-back three-run innings early in the game gave Las Vegas enough cushion to take a 11-5 win over Sacramento in game three of six.

The Aviators are now 16-5 against the River Cats in 2022.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, Las Vegas had its first four batters of the second inning reach base. The final hit of the stretch was a two-run double by center fielder Cal Stevenson to give the visiting team a 2-1 lead.

Moments later, right fielder Luis Barrera would plate another run on an RBI sacrifice fly.

Stevenson made waves again in the third inning by hitting the first Las Vegas home run of the night in the form of a three-run blast to put the Aviators up, 6-2. To that point, Stevenson was 2-for-2 with a double, home run, five RBI and run scored while only seeing six pitches.

He finished the night a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with a single, double, home run, five RBI and two runs scored.

The team added insurance runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings starting with RBI singles from shortstop Kevin Smith and left fielder Skye Bolt.

Las Vegas’ second home run of the ninth came off the bat of catcher Beau Taylor in the ninth inning. Smith added another run on an RBI double to put the Aviators up by eight runs, their largest lead of the game.

Pitcher Miguel Romero (2-1) got the win after working three innings, giving up a run on three hits while striking out.

Pitcher Ty Damron got the start and yielded two runs on four hits in three innings pitched while striking out one to three walks. He now has a 1.96 ERA.

Friday, W, 9-3

Las Vegas scored in each of the game’s first three innings on the way to another win over Sacramento, this time by a final score of 9-3.

The Aviators were powered by three home runs on the night including two by the same person.

Third baseman Matt Davidson got things started right away with a two-run dinger in the top of the first with two outs in the frame. He struck again in the sixth inning with two outs again, this time he launched a solo home run over the wall in right center field.

Davidson went 3-for-5 with a single, two home runs, three RBI, two runs scored and a strikeout. He now has 25 home runs on the year.

Shortstop Kevin Smith was responsible for the other Las Vegas home run on the night, hitting his to leadoff the top of the second inning. Second baseman Nate Mondou also drove in two runs on a single with two outs to put the Aviators up 5-0.

First baseman Dalton Kelly pushed the Las Vegas lead to 6-2 after his RBI single with one out in the top of the third inning. Catcher William Simoneit hit his second double of the year in that same inning, plating two in the process.

Las Vegas starting pitcher Hogan Harris was tagged for all three runs during his four-inning outing, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out two and walking two.

Reliever Adam Kolarek (1-2) got his first win of the year in his 30th appearance of the season. He gave up two hits during his two scoreless innings pitched, tallying a strikeout along the way.

Saturday, W, 4-0

Las Vegas picked up its third shutout win of the season in the form of a 4-0 victory over Sacramento to guarantee a series win in this six-game stretch. In addition, the team moved to .500 on the year for the first time since Aug. 27.

Starting pitcher Jared Koenig scattered three hits around seven innings to pace the Aviators to the win.

Koenig allowed a leadoff single to right fielder Bryce Johnson before retiring the next eight straight to still face the minimum through three innings. The second hit he allowed also came off the bat of Johnson.

Koenig went seven scoreless innings, coughing up those three hits while striking out five and walking one. He is now 6-6 on the year with a 4.71 ERA.

Lefty reliever Sam Selman picked up a six-out save, striking out one and walking out in his two innings on the mound. That marked his fifth save of the year while dropping his ERA to 2.45 on the season.

The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when second baseman Nate Mondou knocked around his 27th double of the season to put Las Vegas on the board.

Left fielder Conner Capel followed up with an RBI single to score Mondou in his Aviator debut after being claimed off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the top of the sixth inning, shortstop Kevin Smith took the first pitch deep for a solo home run with two outs recorded.

Catcher Beau Taylor drove in the final run of the game in the ninth inning on an RBI single with two outs. He now has 12 RBI in his first 20 games with Las Vegas this year.

Sunday, L, 7-6

Las Vegas dropped a rare game against Sacramento after being burned by a five-run seventh inning and never recovered.

The team had early success, highlighted by an RBI single from right fielder Cal Stevenson to tie the game at one apiece.

Center fielder Skye Bolt added another RBI single to put Las Vegas up for the first time in the game.

Third baseman Jordan Diaz made its three straight one-out RBI singles as the Aviators jumped ahead 3-1.

The River Cats’ rally began in the bottom of the sixth when the team hit its second leadoff home run of the game. The first came in the bottom of the second inning.

An inning later, Sacramento added runs on separate RBI doubles. The first came with one out in the inning while the other came with outs in the frame.

The back-breaking hit of the inning came when designated hitter Willie Calhoun blasted a three-run home run to put the home team up 7-3.

Reliever Aaron Brown was charged with the blown save, his third of the year while dropping to 6-4 on the year after allowing five runs (all unearned) on three hits in 1.2 innings of work.

Las Vegas tried to mount a rally of its own but fell just short of the final mark.

Left fielder Conner Capel came up clutch with a two-out RBI single. He now has RBIs in his first two games as an Aviator.

Bolt struck again in the top of the ninth with a two-run double with two outs in the inning. On the night, he went 2-for-5 with a single, double and three RBI.

Diaz followed up with a game-ending groundout.

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