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Aviators looks to regain first-place status as road trip continues

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

In an unfamiliar position, the Las Vegas Aviators are in the midst of a climb back into first place.

Las Vegas has found itself on the wrong side of a series for the third straight time following a 2-4 series loss to Albuquerque this past week.

The series included everything from several weather delays to fiery hitting even in losses but none worse than the fact that Las Vegas had leads in all four games it lost this series.

This season’s Aviators team is 6-6 against the Isotopes with no more regular season games scheduled. Now, Las Vegas is 23-27 on the road this year.

No time like the present for the team to return to the comfy confines of the Las Vegas Ballpark as it prepares to host the Reno Aces of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization this upcoming week.

Game one of six is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 2 with first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

It will be a prime opportunity for Las Vegas to make up ground in the Pacific Coast League West standings as it sit two and a half games behind Reno for tops in the division.

Tuesday, L, 15-7

The losing streak was extended to four games after the Aviators dropped the series opener against the Isotopes, 15-7.

It was a fifth inning collapse that led to the ultimate demise of Las Vegas.

Pitcher Grant Holmes allowed all four batters he faced in the fifth inning to reach. All four of them were hits, two of them extra-base hits. of which brought in runs via a two-run home run. By that point, Albuquerque went up 5-3.

All runs ended up coming across to score and being charged to Holmes after reliever Aaron Brown surrendered back-to-back walks before a grand slam.

Holmes was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs on four hits while failing to record an out. He is now 1-2 this season with an 8.27 ERA.

Ultimately, Aviator pitching allowed three home runs with the final coming in the eighth innings. The Isotopes topped things off with a four-run eighth inning behind four walks in a five-batter span from Aviator reliever Ryan Castellani.

Starting pitcher Jared Koenig pitched to a tie before leaving the ballgame after pitching around some adverse situations in the early innings.

Koenig worked around a leadoff double in the first inning, leaving the runner stranded after three straight outs. He followed that up by getting out of a 2-on, no out situation after inducing three more outs.

However, Koenig wasn’t as lucky in the second and fourth innings. Two runs would score on a double play and RBI single in the second inning to give the home team a 2-1 lead. In addition, another run scored on another RBI single with two outs in the fourth to tie the game at three apiece.

Koenig left the game after working four innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out one and walking three.

Two Las Vegas batters turned in two-RBI nights as catcher Shea Langeliers compiled his two driven-in runs on a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning. At the time, his moonshot gave the Aviators a 3-2 lead.

It was his 18th home run and 46th and 47th RBIs of the year while going 4-for-4 with three singles, a home run, two RBI, three runs scored and a walk.

Second baseman Nate Mondou drove in the final runs of the night on a two–run triple in the ninth inning to cut the deficit to the final margin of eight. Las Vegas was down by as many as eight runs.

Mondou went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI, a strikeout and a walk.

Wednesday, L, 15-9

It’s now a five-game losing streak for the sliding Aviators after dropping another game, this time a second straight to Albuquerque.

Over the first two games of the series, Las Vegas has allowed 30 runs and now have a -32 run differential in the PCL West standings.

Moreover, the Aviators are now 49-45 but still sit only two and a half games out of the first spot, currently held by the Reno Aces of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. The Aces are on a two-game losing streak of their own.

This most recent loss for Las Vegas came after the team held multiple leads, something the team also did in the opener.

The connection between right fielder Luis Barrera and left fielder Cal Stevenson was strong as it produced some early runs for the road team.

Barrera drove in Stevenson, who reached on a single and stole second, on a one-out RBI single. Later in the frame, Barrera would steal second and advance on an error before being brought home on a sacrifice fly from catcher Shea Langeliers for a 2-0 Las Vegas lead.

Deja vu struck in the third inning as Barrera hit another RBI single, this time with two outs, still scoring Stevenson and giving the Aviators another lead. Las Vegas held two leads in the series opener Tuesday in a losing effort.

Barrera went 4-for-4 with four singles, three RBI, three runs scored and a walk.

First baseman Billy McKinney drove in Barrera on a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to cut into the Isotopes’ lead. Just an inning earlier, he led off the sixth inning with a triple amidst a 2-for-5 night with a triple, home run, three RBI and two runs scored.

Starting pitcher Zach Logue suffered a tough stretch between the third and fourth innings after tallying the second out of the third inning. From there, of the next eight batters he faced, Logue would only record one more out.

Logue served up a two-run home run to give Albuquerque a 4-3 lead before getting out of the inning.

An inning later, he allowed the first five batters to reach, beginning with a walk and followed by a team cycle that went: Single, two-run triple, RBI double and two-run home run.

The Isotopes led 9-3 when Logue was lifted from the ballgame.

Logue gave up nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits in just three innings of work with three strikeouts and three walks. This season, he is 3-3 with a 6.14 ERA including going 0-2 in his last two minor league starts. He does have a couple of major league starts surrounding those outings.

In the fifth inning, Albuquerque hit a grand slam off reliever Miguel Romero as part of its second straight five-run inning. That also marked the team’s second grand slam of the first two games of the series.

Thursday, W, 4-1

Another weather delay couldn’t prevent Las Vegas from capturing its first win of the six-game series against Albuquerque in game three.

The win saw a struggling pitcher get the win for the Aviators as he put forth a dominant effort in a quality start performance.

Albuquerque scored early, on the back of an RBI double after a leadoff double got a man in scoring position.

From there, Las Vegas’ Parker Dunshee would retire seven straight batters before allowing another baserunner, this time on a hit-by-pitch.

He would retire another five in order before hitting his second batter of the game.

By the end of his outing, Dunshee would have worked six full innings, giving up a run on two hits in the process. He also struck out six and walked one.

Dunshee (4-9, 7.31 ERA) got his first win in a start since May 4. Through the month of July, he went 3-2 with a 5.49 ERA with two wins coming in relief.

Reliever Garrett Acton bounced back from allowing his first earned run of the season by allowing a hit over his two innings of action. He would also strike out four and walk one.

Over 17.1 innings pitched this year, Acton has a 0.52 ERA for Las Vegas.

Fellow reliever Domingo Tapia recorded his third save of the season after striking out two in his one inning on the mound. He now has a 1.83 ERA this year.

The Isotopes were only able to muster three hits against Aviator pitching as the road team coasted to 12 team strikeouts.

Shortstop Kevin Smith broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning. He went 3-for-4 with a single, two doubles, two RBI and a strikeout from the nine-hole in the Aviators lineup.

Smith’s tiebreaking hit scored third baseman Nate Mondou and right fielder Billy McKinney.

Mondou also drove in a run earlier in the game when he connected on an RBI single to tie the game at a run apiece. He finished the night 2-for-4 with two singles, an RBI and a run scored.

Left fielder Cal Stevenson drove in the team’s final run of the night on an RBI sacrifice fly.

Friday, L, 11-6

An early lead lasted about as fast as it was obtained for Las Vegas as it dropped its third of four games against Albuquerque.

The 11-6 loss also added to the woes for one Aviators pitcher in particular.

The Isotopes tied the game at one apiece after a leadoff single came around to score after an RBI double three batters later. Albuquerque would go on to score six runs with two outs in the inning including a grand slam to go up 7-1 on visiting Las Vegas. The Isotopes batted around that inning with the team only going down in order once against Aviators starter Adrian Martinez and that was during the first inning.

Martinez would be relieved of his duties after surrendering two home runs in the span of four batters in the fifth inning. He left the game with Las Vegas down, 9-4 on the scoreboard.

His final stat line read 4 ⅔ innings pitched, giving up nine runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Only three of the nine runs he allowed were earned for him.

Martinez (4-6, 5.54 ERA) loss his third straight start with Las Vegas, four if you include a start up with the Oakland Athletics.

Designated hitter Matt Davidson was one of two Aviators with two RBI nights, beginning with a leadoff home run in the second inning. In the fifth inning, he added another run via an RBI groundout to cut the deficit to four runs.

Davidson went 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, run scored and a walk.

Shortstop Kevin Smith drove in his two runs in a single swing via a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning. Smith went 2-for-5 with a single, double, two RBI and two strikeouts.

Catcher Shea Langeliers went 3-for-5 with a single, two doubles, RBI and run scored. His run-producing hit came in the fifth inning, the same as Davidson’s RBI groundout.

Third baseman Nate Mondou also had a three-hit night along with Langeliers.

Saturday, W, 12-7

The power swing erased an early deficit for Las Vegas as it bounced back to win its second game of a scheduled six-game series against Albuquerque with one more left to play.

The Aviators scored in three straight innings to fight off the early deficit and secure the win.

Designated hitter Matt Davidson kept his run producing going, as he mirrored his second inning performance from Friday on Saturday. He launched a leadoff home run to open the second for the second straight night, giving Las Vegas the 1-0 lead.

An inning later, catcher Shea Langeliers hit a two-run home run with one out in the inning to put the team up 4-3. That marked his 19th home run of the year.

Langeliers’ blast was the second of four straight hits for the Aviators. The final hit was a home run from right fielder Billy McKinney, who finished the night a double-shy of the cycle. McKinney went 3-for-5 with a single, triple, home run, two RBI and two runs scored.

To complete the three straight scoring innings, first baseman Jed Lowrie got in on the scoring, smacking his first home run of his rehab assignment from Oakland. That wasn’t his lone long ball of the night as he went deep again in the seventh inning.

Lowrie went 4-for-5 with two singles, two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored. He is now hitting .313 during his rehab stint with Las Vegas.

Starting pitcher Collin Wiles got the win after working 5 ⅔ innings of work, allowing five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

Wiles (8-6, 5.11 ERA) had experienced two straight no-decisions going 3-0 with a 3.25 ERA in the month of July.

Sunday, L, 6-5

The comeback efforts from the Aviators fell short as the team lost yet another series after dropping the finale to the Isotopes.

Left fielder Luis Barrera hit a leadoff triple only to be brought around to score on another triple, this time an RBI triple from first baseman Billy McKinney.

McKinney went 3-for-5 with two singles, a triple, an RBI and a run scored.

However, the one-run lead was short-lived after three RBI singles and an RBI sacrifice fly put Las Vegas behind the eight-ball for good.

Even when the Aviators were able to tie the game, it wouldn’t be long before the Isotopes made another effort to regain control.

It was a solo home run in the third inning from former Las Vegas player Carlos Perez. Two innings later, the Aviators would serve up another solo shot.

Starting pitcher Jared Koenig pitched 5 full innings, yielding six runs on eight hits while tallying five strikeouts.

Koenig (4-4, 4.07 ERA) went winless in July posting a 0-2 record with a 9.00 ERA in four starts this month.

Right fielder Vince Fernandez did his best to keep Las Vegas afloat but would be left out to dry.

He led off the top of the second inning with his 13th home run of the season while cutting the Aviators’ deficit in half. An inning later, Fernandez drove in two more on a single to tie the game at four apiece.

Fernandez went 2-for-4 with a single, home run, three RBI, run scored, a strikeout and walk. He now has 42 RBI this year.


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