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Aviators drop to third place after four-loss series to Reno

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

With a chance to take over first place in the Western Division of the Triple-A West, the Las Vegas Aviators lost four of six to their intrastate rival the Reno Aces.

Reno now leads the season series 8-4 with 12 more games to play. Last season, the Aviators won the season series 11-5.

It’s only the third losing series for the Aviators all season long.

Las Vegas have now dropped to fourth place and currently sit at 18-18, four games behind the 23-13 Reno team.

In addition, the Aviators are two games behind the Tacoma Rainiers for second place in the division.

At the start of the series, Vegas was within three games of first place while sitting in the second spot in the division.

Those same Rainiers will enter town for a six-game series, beginning Thursday, June 17.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Thursday, L, 7-5

Las Vegas had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning with a chance to tie or win in walkoff fashion, but unfortunately fell short.

Outfielder Cody Thomas flew out for the second out of the inning before infielder Jacob Wilson grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

It was a bad ending to a pretty good start by pitcher Brian Howard, who went five full, allowing two runs on four hits.

He also struck out three and walked two.

However, the next two relievers, James Naile and Argenis Angulo, combined to go two innings, allowing five runs on four hits with two strikeouts and one walk.

Coming into this game, the Las Vegas bullpen had an earned run average of 6.40.

Howard is still winless this season at home.

The Aviators could not capitalize with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-15 for the night.

First baseman Frank Schwindel hit his team-leading ninth home run of the year in the fifth inning to extend Vegas’ lead to 4-2.

Schwindel went 3-for-5 with a home run, RBI and run scored.

Wilson went 1-for-2 but drew three walks and was left stranded three times, being picked off once.

This season, the Aviators are outsourcing opponents 70-47 in the first three innings of the game but are being outscored 64-48 in the last three.

Over 8,000 fans filed into the LVBP after restrictions on the city were lifted on June 1.

As a treat, those fans were treated to $2 beers.

Friday, W, 8-3

The Aviators used a knack for scoring two-out runs to oust the Aces in game two of this six-game home series.

Las Vegas scored all of its eight runs with two outs in the inning, highlighted by a four-run fourth.

Outfielder Cody Thomas blasted a three-run home run during that frame to push the Aviator lead to 5-2.

Five of the eight runs came off the bats of the 7-8-9 hitters in the Vegas lineup (shortstop Vimael Machîn, third baseman Nate Mondou and Thomas).

First baseman Frank Schwindel added more insurance runs in the form of a three-run home run in the bottom of the 7th inning after Reno cut the lead to two.

Schwindel added to his team lead in home runs and now has 10 on the year.

He finished the night a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, home run, three RBI and two runs scored.

Pitcher Matt Milburn made his second home start of the year, entering the game with a 10.66 earned run average and a 1-2 record.

Milburn went 3.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out three.

He now has allowed 18 runs (17 earned) in 16.1 inning pitched.

Earlier this year, Milburn captured his first win of the year in Reno, tossing five scoreless innings allowing just three hits.

Pitcher Tanner Anderson got the win in this one to improve to 3-0 on the year.

In addition, 9,568 fans were in attendance to watch the first full-capacity Friday Night Fireworks show at Las Vegas Ballpark.

That nearly 10,000 fans in attendance helped facilitate the first sellout of the season for the Aviators.

Saturday, W, 18-9

The Aviators batted around two times during their 18-9 win over the Aces to for their second win in the first three games of this six-game home series.

With 18 runs, the team set a new season-high surpassing a mark previously set against Salt Lake back in late May.

Now sitting at 18-15, Las Vegas is now two games behind Reno for first place in the West division of the Triple-A West.

Las Vegas sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring seven runs in the process, chasing Reno’s Humberto Mejia after recording just two outs along the way.

The team sent 11 men to the plate in the third inning, adding six more runs to go up 13-2 over the first place Aces.

Right fielder Cody Thomas hit two home runs during a 3-for-5 night, with five runs batted in and three runs scored.

Thomas hit a three-run shot in the third inning which was followed by a solo home run from left fielder Jacob Wilson.

Thomas now has seven home runs on the year.

Second baseman Nate Mondou hit a first inning grand slam, marking the first Triple-A home run of his career.

Mondou came close to accomplishing the feat during a road game in Albuquerque when he nearly hit a grand slam to right center.

First baseman Frank Schwindel went 2-for-6, with a two-run home run and two runs scored, extending his team-lead to 11 home runs.

In addition, he ran his hitting streak to five games.

Starter Grant Holmes (0-1) is still winless after going 4 ⅔ innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking two.

It’s the third time this season, Holmes has been pulled at 4.2 innings pitched and he has yet to make it into the fifth inning at any point this season.

However, eight of the 14 outs produced by Holmes were flyball outs.

Pitcher Jesus Zambrano (2-0) got the win in relief after going 2 ⅓ innings, allowing one run on a solo home run with a walk and two strikeouts.

Sunday, L, 15-7

Las Vegas starter Paul Blackburn avoided disaster in the fourth inning when he pitched around two baserunners in scoring position with no outs.

However, he was not that lucky in the fifth inning when Reno batted around in the fifth inning knocking Blackburn out of the game.

Blackburn went 4 ⅔ innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on nine hits while striking out five and walking two.

He is now 2-2 on the year, with both wins having come on the road.

The Aces batted around again, and then some, in the eighth inning sending 11 batters to the plate, scoring 11 runs in the process.

That inning, relievers Argenis Angulo and Matt Blackham combined to go ⅓ inning, allowing seven runs on five hits while walking three and striking out one.

The Aviators left 12 runners on-base including flying out with the bases loaded in the fifth and striking out with them loaded in the seventh after the Aces had walked in a run.

Las Vegas didn’t notch its second hit of the game until the fourth inning off a single by second baseman Nate Mondou.

RIght fielder Greg Deichmann made his return after missing nearly a week after leaving a contest with an apparent hamstring injury.

He finished the night 0-for-3 with an RBI, run scored, a strikeout and three walks

Left fielder Mickey McDonald made his first Triple-A start, going 2-for-3 in the process with an RBI double, run scored, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

His single in the fourth inning was his first Triple-A hit.

In addition, first baseman Frank Schwindel had his five-game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-5.

Monday, L, 21-16

A wild game from first pitch ended with both Las Vegas and Reno combining for 37 runs scored.

The Aces got the better of a 21-16 ending against the Aviators to secure at least a series split with its intrastate rival.

Las Vegas will attempt to tie the series and look to avoid losing its third series of the season and second to Reno.

An 11-run third inning wasn’t enough as the Aces scored 14 runs over the last three innings to put away the Aviators.

For the first time this season, starter Daulton Jefferies had his first rough outing of the season going four innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and a season-high three walks.

In addition, he allowed three of the five home runs given up by Las Vegas pitching.

With the Aviators sporting a 13-7 lead, reliever Miguel Romero was tagged for five runs on four hits in ⅓ innings of work allowing a walk and the two home runs.

Romero was given the blown save in addition to the loss.

The last three relievers for Las Vegas combined to go 2 ⅓ innings, allowing nine runs on 10 hits, walking two and striking out two.

After the third inning, the Aviators led 12-6, following an 11-run frame which is a season-high.

The team missed out on the chance to set a new record by just two runs.

Second baseman Vimael Machîn hit a double and a grand slam during that inning, part of his 7 RBI night.

Machîn finished 2-for-5 with a home run, double, 7 RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a strikeout.

It was the third time in as many games, that Las Vegas hit a grand slam.

Two other Aviators recorded three-hit, three-run nights, in catcher Carlos Perez and left fielder Luis Barrera.

Perez also hit a two-run home run for his second of the year.

Also, first baseman Frank Schwindel went 1-for-4 after having his five-game hitting streak broken on Sunday.

Schwindel was named the Triple-A Player of the Week prior to the start of the game.

Tuesday, L, 16-4

It was the second start for pitcher Brian Howard in this series and his third against Reno this season.

By the third inning, it was his worst as Las Vegas lost 16-4.

The team is now 1-2 when wearing its white Reyes de Plata uniforms.

Howard was tagged for a season-high eight runs on nine hits in just 3 ⅓ innings of work. He also struck out three and walked zero.

The Aviators trailed 10-0 by the end of the top of the fourth inning with only one hit accounted for.

For the second time in three games, Las Vegas didn’t collect its second hit until the fourth inning or later.

This time around, the team didn’t record its second hit until the fifth inning on a single by right fielder Greg Deichmann.

Designated hitter Carlos Perez drove in Deichmann on an RBI double a batter later.

The only other offense came off the bat of first baseman Frank Schwindel, who hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning and then knocked in a run on an RBI groundout in the eighth.

There were 129 combined runs and 159 combined hits in this series with Las Vegas being outscored 71 to 58 and out-hit 92 to 67.

In addition, both teams combined to play 22 hours and 29 minutes in total during the six-game series.


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