Aviators end homestand on three-game win streak
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
After being pushed to a season-high six straight losses, the Las Vegas Aviators rebounded to end their homestand on a three-game win streak.
In the full 12-game homestand, the Aviators went 5-7 to the Reno Aces and Tacoma Rainiers at Las Vegas Ballpark.
Heading into the homestand, Las Vegas was three games out of first place and had a prime opportunity to take over the Western Division of the Triple-A West.
Currently, the Aviators are 21-21 and in third place in the division behind both the Aces and Rainiers.
The team will head to the road next for a six-game series against the Salt Lake Bees, who Vegas has a 2-4 record against this year.
Thursday, L, 11-7
The shortest outing of the season for pitcher Matt Milburn opened the door for some fresh faces in the Aviator bullpen.
Milburn was torched for five runs on six hits in just 1 ⅔ innings pitched while striking out none.
However, reliever Jesus Zambrano (1-1) was charged with the loss after allowing three runs on two hits while issuing one walk in his 2 ⅓ innings of work.
The returning JB Wendelken had a rough start to his first outing back in Las Vegas, allowing a run to score on no hits after issuing two walks.
In addition, Double-A Midland callup Zach Jackson pitched an inning giving up two runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
The team is now under .500 with its latest loss, sitting at 18-19 in the Western Division of the Triple-A West.
Third baseman Jacob Wilson did secure the first four-hit game of the season for the Aviators going 4-for-5 with two home runs, four runs batted in and three runs scored.
Friday, L, 5-2
The Las Vegas offense went stale in the most inopportune time as the Aviators dropped its second straight game to Tacoma.
With a chance to cut the deficit to 4-2, right fielder Greg Deichmann was called out at the plate after trying to score on an RBI single from shortstop Pete Kozma.
Left fielder Luis Barrera had already scored on the play and Deichmann was the second out of the inning.
A late solo home run from catcher Austin Allen was not even to mount an Aviator comeback as the team fell 5-3.
Pitcher Miguel Romero (0-2) got a loss in his first start of the year after pitcher Grant Holmes was moved to the bullpen.
Romero went three innings allowing four runs on six hits while striking out one.
Holmes did make an appearance out of the bullpen, allowing two hits in two innings of work, striking out three and walking one in the process.
A perfect three-inning performance from reliever James Naile was the buffer in-between both outings.
Third baseman Jacob Wilson had his five-game hit streak snapped after going 0-for-4 including the game-ending groundout to Rainiers’ pitcher Brian Schlitter.
Schlitter entered the game to cheers from the Las Vegas crowd after being released earlier this season.
He spent 2019 in the valley as the Aviators’ primary closer and ended the game with a tip of the cap to the Las Vegas Ballpark fans.
Saturday, L, 5-3
The Aviators have produced just five combined runs over the last two games and have now lost six straight contests, including the first three to the Rainiers.
Las Vegas scored two runs through the first three innings and was locked in a 2-2 tie with Tacoma after the first third of the game had concluded.
From that point on, the Aviators were only able to scratch one run across the plate and that in the seventh inning.
However, the team allowed three runs over the last three innings of the game.
Reliever A.J. Puk (2-3) flirted with fire in the sixth inning and got burned in the seventh.
After securing the first out of the sixth inning, Puk walked and gave up a single to the next two batters.
Yet he avoided disaster after striking out the next guy and getting the last out of the inning via the flyball.
The next inning, Puk wasn’t as lucky, walking the first guy and then giving up a two-run home run to infielder Jack Reinheimer.
Las Vegas is now 18-21 on the year and are on a season-high six-game losing streak.
Currently, the team is still in third place in the Western Division of the Triple-A West but are only 0.5 game away from slipping into the fourth spot.
Sunday, W, 14-3
The Aviators scored 10 unanswered runs en route to a 14-3 win over the Rainiers after scoring a combined 12 runs through the first three games of this series.
Las Vegas was powered by home runs from infielders Nate Mondou and Jacob Wilson along with outfielder Cody Thomas.
Mondou went 3-for-4, with a home run, RBI and two runs scored while drawing a walk and striking out once.
Both Wilson and Thomas went 2-for-5 with a strikeout with the former collecting two RBI and the latter tallying three.
Thomas also scored twice while Wilson crossed the plate once.
Third baseman Vimael Machîn left the game in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch right on the back of the right knee.
To that point, Machîn had gone 2-for-4 with a triple, four RBI, two runs scored and a strikeout.
Starter Daulton Jefferies (2-0) continues to be the most consistent pitcher in Fran Riordan’s rotation as he went five full, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out four in the process.
Jefferies now has an earned run average of 3.77 for the season.
In addition, the Las Vegas bullpen combined to throw four innings, allowing just one run on three hits to go along with five strikeouts.
As a team, the Aviators issued no walks to the Rainiers.
Monday, W, 15-6
Las Vegas tallied a season-high 20 hits while still salvaging a chance to split the series against Tacoma.
The Aviators were powered by a team-effort in a 15-6 winning effort over the Rainiers, adding to a 29-9 dominance over the last two games for the home team.
Third and fourth hitters in the lineup, Vimael Machîn and Frank Schwindel, both led the way with strong offensive performances resulting in two home run games for each.
Machîn went 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, three runs scored, a walk and a strikeout.
Just a day earlier, Machîn was removed from the game in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch on a nerve behind his right knee.
Schwindel, on the other hand, continued to add to his team-lead in home runs, as he went 4-for-5 with two home runs, a double, four RBI, and four runs scored.
In the fourth inning, Las Vegas batted around, producing five straight hits including a home run, two doubles and two singles.
The Aviators scored five runs in that inning and took a commanding 9-3 lead.
Starter Brian Howard (2-3) got his first home win in the midst of the strong offensive showing.
He went six full innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out four and walking one.
As a team, Las Vegas didn’t allow a hit over the last two-plus innings.
Tuesday, W, 14-6
Needing a win to salvage a series split, the Aviators got just that following a 14-6 win over the Rainiers in the team’s final game of a 12-game homestand.
Las Vegas used the long ball to oust Tacoma to the tune of five home runs.
Center fielder Cody Thomas went 2-for-3 with two home runs, two runs batted in, three runs scored, a walk and a strikeout.
Thomas has now homered in the last three games and has four over that span.
In addition, he’s gone 6-for-14, with four home runs, seven RBI, seven runs scored. Interestingly enough, he struck out as many times as he hit home runs during that stretch.
First baseman Frank Schwindel continued to add to his team lead in multiple categories, going 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, two runs scored and two strikeouts.
His 16 home runs and 40 RBI lead the Aviators.
His play was so infectious that designated hitter Francisco Peña went back-to-back with him in the fifth inning, for his eighth of the year.
Left fielder Jacob Wilson also hit his 11th home run.
Las Vegas has homered in 34 of the 42 games and have a 18-16 record in those contests.
The power-filled performance out-did former Aviator Eric Campbell who went 2-for-3 with a home run, double, RBI, run scored, a walk and a strikeout in his first game of the series.
Starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo was optioned to Triple-A by the Oakland Athletics and made his second start for the Aviators this year.
Luzardo pitched three innings, allowing one run on two hits, four strikeouts and two walks.
However the run was unearned, meaning his earned run average still sits at zero.
The game took a turn after another rough outing for reliever A.J. Puk.
He was hammered for four runs (three earned), off two hits (both home runs), in just 1 ⅔ innings of work.
He also struck out one and walked one but left the game with an ERA of 11.50.
Reliever James Naile (3-0) got the win after recording just one out, via the strikeout, pitching around his one surrendered hit.