Aviators finish strong, take last three against River Cats
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
After a bleak start to the home series, the Las Vegas Aviators bounced back to take the last three against the Sacramento River Cats and split the six-game series from Las Vegas Ballpark.
The split series moves the season series to 11-7 in favor of Las Vegas with six more regular season games scheduled with Sacramento.
Now, the Aviators are 14-16 at home this season.
Next, Las Vegas will head to the road to face the first place team in the Western Division of the Triple-A West, the Reno Aces.
That series is scheduled to start Thursday, July 8.
The Aviators will enter that series in fourth place in the division, a half game behind the Salt Lake Bees for third, three games behind the Tacoma Rainiers for second and nine games behind the Aces for first.
Thursday, L, 10-2
Las Vegas only recorded two hits in the series opener against Sacramento resulting in a 10-2 loss.
Shortstop Pete Kozma tallied the team’s first hit in the first inning before catcher Austin Allen singled in the fourth for the Aviators final hit of the game.
Center fielder Cody Thomas posted the only run batted in on the night for Las Vegas when he drew a walk with the bases loaded.
It was his 33rd RBI of the season.
The team struck out eight times on the night, leaving 13 runners on-base in the process.
The last 13 Aviator batters were retired in order.
Starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (2-3) went five full innings, giving up three runs on eight hits while striking out two and walking one.
All four Las Vegas pitchers that took the mound Thursday gave up at least two runs apiece.
After being beaten by the last place team in the in Western division of the Triple-A West, the Aviators (23-26) are now a half game away from slipping into fourth place.
Friday, L, 12-3
If Las Vegas could start this series over, I’m sure it would.
Through the first two games of the series, the Aviators have been outscored 22-5 by the River Cats.
This comes after dropping the second game of six, 12-3, Friday night Las Vegas Ballpark.
Starter Jesus Luzardo was chased in the first inning after surrendering seven runs on six hits in just ⅔ of an inning.
He also struck out two and walked two.
Since being optioned down to Triple-A, Luzardo (0-1) has made three starts and hasn’t made it past 3 ⅓ innings pitched.
On the way out the game, he was stopped by the umpire crew and checked for illegal substances.
Much to his visible displeasure.
The offense was slow to come by on this night as well for Las Vegas.
By the fourth inning, the Aviators had only tallied one hit, which was recorded in the first inning.
Las Vegas broke into the score column in the fifth inning scoring two of its three runs.
The third run was scored in the ninth inning.
All three RBI came from the 4-5-6 hitters (third baseman Jacob Wilson, designated hitter Austin Allen and first baseman Carlos Perez.
Right fielder Cody Thomas was named Player of the Month by Minor League Baseball.
Thomas led the league in home runs, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage.
He went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk in this one before being removed from this one in the sixth inning.
Saturday, L, 14-8
Needing a win to avoid slipping into last place of the Western Division of the Triple-A, Las Vegas couldn’t hold onto a 5-0 early lead and ended up losing 14-8 to Sacramento.
This comes a day after the team slipped into fourth place in the Western Division of the Triple-A West.
The Aviators (23-28) are now in fifth place after losing the first three games of this series to the previously last place River Cats (23-27).
A five-run fifth inning for Sacramento gave the team the lead after falling behind 5-0 to start the game.
However, a sixth inning error with two outs by center fielder Luis Barrera broke the game wide open as the River Cats scored six more.
It was the second error for Barrera in center field in two nights.
Three Aviator players recorded two or more RBI in the contest.
Catcher Austin Allen went 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
In the process, he extended his team-high 11-game hit streak.
First baseman Carlos Perez and second baseman Nate Mondou both tallied two RBI apiece.
Starting pitcher Daulton Jefferies made his eighth start of the year and had it going for himself before running out of gas by the end of his outing.
He pitched 4 ⅓ innings, allowing six runs on seven hits while striking out nine and walking just two.
Up until the fourth inning, Jefferies (2-1) had allowed just two hits and struck out six.
Las Vegas is last in the division in pitching with an 6.74 earned run average.
Coming into this game, the Aviators had allowed 543 hits, 43 more than the next closest.
**EDITOR'S NOTE: It was announced today that pitcher Jordan Weems was designated for assignment today by the Oakland Athletics.
Sunday, W, 15-14
It was fireworks on the baseball diamond, as the Aviators and River Cats combined for seven home runs, 29 runs and 32 hits.
Las Vegas had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing by three runs.
Right fielder Cody Thomas smacked a double down the right field line to drive in two runs.
Two batters later, third baseman Vimael Machîn hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 14 apiece.
It was another sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th off the bat of left fielder Jacob Wilson.
Wilson was one of two players who recorded four RBI on the night including catcher Carlos Perez.
He went 2-for-3 with a three-run home run, four RBI, three walks and three runs scored.
Perez hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first to give the Aviators a 4-2 lead.
Center fielder Austin Beck recorded his first Triple-A hit in-style as he sent a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-center field for a two-run home run.
Both teams combined to go 13-for-28 with runners in scoring position with Las Vegas and Sacramento combining to leave 27 men on-base.
Reliever Domingo Acevedo (2-0) got the win after pitching a scoreless two innings, striking out four and walking one in the process.
Starter Brian Howard was lifted from the game after just two innings of work where he allowed five runs on eight hits.
Monday, W, 4-3
There were more fireworks the day after Independence Day as right fielder Cody Thomas sent the Las Vegas fans home happy with a two-run walk-off home run.
Thomas connected on a 1-1 pitch and launched it deep to right center field.
He finished the night goin 2-for-5 with that long ball, two RBI and a run scored.
Center fielder Austin Beck provided another spark for Las Vegas.
To that point, Beck had powered the team’s only runs of the night with a two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning.
It was his second home run in as many nights with the former being his first Triple-A hit.
He went 1-for-4 with that two-run shot, a run scored and three strikeouts.
Second baseman Nate Mondou kept his hot bat going in this series with a 2-for-4 night with a double and a run scored.
His first out of the night was a line drive to right field that Sacramento’s Braden Bishop had to slide for in order to secure.
Mondou is hitting .400 in this series with a double, three RBI, four walks and three runs scored.
Designated hitter Austin Allen extended his 12-game hit streak to 13 after going 1-for-4 with a first inning double and two strikeouts.
Starter Miguel Romero had a tough time with control as he produced a season-high in walks allowed.
Romero pitched four innings, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out four and walking four.
Reliever Reymin Guduan (2-1) got the win after pitching 2 ⅓ perfect innings with five strikeouts.
Coming into the game, he had nine walks in 15 appearances.
The Aviators are now 25-28 on the season and have once again avoided falling into last place in the Western Division of the Triple-A West.
In addition, Las Vegas improves to 13-16 at home this year.
The win means the team can still split the series with a win in tomorrow’s finale.
Tuesday, W, 14-9
It was a much-needed offensive explosion for Las Vegas as it beat Sacramento, 14-9, to split the series at three apiece.
The offensive onslaught was so powerful that it allowed the first three batters in the Aviator lineup to tally three at-bats in the first three innings.
Las Vegas got home runs from second baseman Vimael Machîn, center fielder Austin Beck and first baseman Carlos Perez.
The first two homers came within minutes of each other in a five-run third for the Aviators.
Machîn had a 3-for-4 night with a home run, three RBI, three runs scored, a walk and a strikeout.
Two batters later Beck connected with his third home run in as many nights after hitting his first Triple-A shot on Sunday, July 4.
That was his lone hit in five trips to the plate.
Perez hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning as part of his perfect 5-for-5 night.
He also tallied a two-run double in the first inning and scored three runs to go along with four RBI.
Everybody got in on the fun as all nine Las Vegas players recorded hits while left fielder Marty Bechina collected his first Triple-A hit.
The team didn’t have their first scoreless inning until the fourth frame.
Starter Paul Blackburn made his 10th start of the season, fifth against Sacramento and second this homestand.
He did not disappoint as he pitched five full innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking just one.
Blackburn (3-3) won his first game since June 7, bringing an end to a four-game winless streak.
The win improves the team’s record to 26-28 on the year and 3-5 in their Reyes de Plata uniforms.