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Late series setback lands Aviators in split with Chihuahuas

Updated: Jun 19

As on top of the world as Las Vegas appeared through the first three games of its latest series, the final three games of the series provided an outcome that soured that momentum.

The Aviators split their most recent six-game series with the El Paso Chihuahuas and are now on a three-game losing streak after just having logged a season-long six-game win streak.

After winning the first three games of this series to run that win streak to six games, Las Vegas had taken eight of the first nine meetings against El Paso this season.

As part of that win streak, the Aviators had gone four games over .500 but are now nine games behind the Pacific Coast League-leading Sugar Land Space Cowboys. The team’s chances at claiming the top spot in the league for the first half of the season is slipping away.

Next time out, Las Vegas will try its hand against Salt Lake as the team returns home to Las Vegas Ballpark. That series is set to begin Tuesday, June 11 with first pitch of game one scheduled for around 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday, W, 3-1

The win streak is now up to five games for Las Vegas after a series opening road win against El Paso. That’s the team’s sixth win in the first seven outings against the Chihuahuas.

Pitcher Joe Boyle got the nod on the mound as part of his rehab assignment. He’d muscle his way through three scoreless innings with just one hit allowed to go along with three strikeouts and two walks.

His biggest inning of trouble came in the game’s opening frame after a leadoff single coupled with a stolen base put a runner in scoring position. However, a strikeout, groundout and flyout in that order would end the threat.

With reliever Gerson Moreno on the mound in the fourth inning, El Paso would score its first and last run of the game.

While Boyle was strong on the bump, Las Vegas’ offense didn’t record its first hit until there were two outs tallied in the third inning. In the fifth inning, it would string together four straight singles to open the frame with the third one tying the game at one apiece off the bat of designated hitter Jordan Diaz.

Diaz would add another RBI to his ledger with an RBI double two innings later to give the Aviators their first lead of the game. He went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, two RBI and a strikeout as the team’s No. 8 hitter.

With offensive chances far and few in between, Las Vegas’ bullpen ended any chance at an El Paso comeback..

Reliever Tyler Ferguson gathered his fifth save of the season after coughing up a leadoff single but inducing a fielder’s choice and double play to get out of it. That leadoff single was the first hit for the home team since the fourth inning.

Fellow reliever Francisco Perez got the win to improve to 3-2 on the year after working just ⅔ of an inning with a clean stat line.

Wednesday, W, 7-3

Las Vegas has its second five-game win streak of the season following another win over El Paso.

Second baseman Jordan Diaz shouldered the offense for a second straight game as part of a four-run win. A leadoff walk in the second inning followed by a single served as a prelude for his two-run homer to tie the game at two-all.

Two innings later Diaz would go yard again, this time with two runners on for a three-spot on the board giving Las Vegas its first lead of the game. He gave the team its first lead on Tuesday night as well.

Diaz went 3-for-4 again with a single, two homers, five RBI and two runs scored.

Pitcher Brady Basso was solid in his effort on the mound after shaking off a rough start to the game. El Paso hit Basso early and hit him hard in the first inning, opening the frame with three straight doubles as two runs scored.

Basso didn’t produce his first 1-2-3 inning until the bottom of the fourth. He went onto allow two runs on four hits in four innings of work with two strikeouts and a walk.

Las Vegas’ bullpen combined to go five full innings, allowing just a run on two hits while tallying 11 strikeouts and two walks. It was also bolstered by insurance runs in the bottom of the ninth in the form of a leadoff home run from third baseman Tyler Nevin and a two-out RBI single from second baseman Armando Alvarez.

Reliever Michel Otanez (4-0) got the win while accounting for five of those 11 strikeouts recorded by the bullpen.

Thursday, W, 12-7

The Aviators have a new season-long win streak after its latest win against the Chihuahuas. Another win against the El Paso club gives Las Vegas a six-game win streak, good enough to move the team into second place in the PCL West.

It was a back-and-forth affair with the Aviators coming out on the top despite the home team opening the game with another first inning run. That was answered by a four-run bottom half by the visitors highlighted by two-run doubles from both left fielder Tyler Nevin and first baseman Yohel Pozo.

Eight of the season-high 17 hits for Las Vegas went for extra bases.

Every time the Chihuahuas tried to inch closer, the Aviators would widen the gap. A third inning inside-the-park homer trimmed the deficit to a run but two runs in the top of the fourth would push it back to three.

That three run lead would evaporate in the bottom of the fourth after starter Brandon Bielak gave up a run on a groundout before leaving the mound. He’d go 3.1 innings with six runs allowed on six hits and a strikeout versus three walks as he left without a decision.

The game would be tied at six and seven but once the aforementioned Nevin broke the tie with a leadoff home run in the top of the eighth, the Aviators held the lead for good.

Nevin went 2-for-3 with a double, home run, four RBI, two runs scored and a walk.

Six Las Vegas batters recorded at least one RBI with three tallying two or more. This includes second baseman Hoy Park who entered the game as a pinch runner. In his lone at-bat he’d drive in two runs on a ninth inning double.

Pitcher Robert Dugger was charged with the blown save but would get the win after working four innings, allowing a run on just one hit to go along with four strikeouts and three walks. 

It was his first appearance this season out of the bullpen and his first such outing since 2022.

Friday, L, 8-6

The season-long six-game win streak for Las Vegas is over after falling to El Paso for the first time this series and just the second time in the first 11 meetings of the season.

Despite the outcome, the Aviators held a 4-0 lead nearly halfway through the game.

First baseman Yohel Pozo hit a homer to leadoff the top of the third. Two more runs would score in the frame on a wild pitch and an RBI double from Carlos Perez for a 3-0 edge for Las Vegas.

In the fourth inning, third baseman Armando Alvarez plated another on an RBI single. The hit-streak is up to eight games for him after his 1-for-5 showing.

While trying to play keep away, the Aviators were caught by the Chihuahuas with the comeback effort beginning in the fourth inning on the heels of a two-run homer that opened the floodgates.

A one-out triple in the fifth inning would knock starting pitcher Osvaldo Bido out of the game. He worked 4.1 innings on the mound with three runs surrendered on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk.

El Paso successfully caught up with Las Vegas, beginning a two-run home run off reliever Francisco Perez that gave the home team added life. The Aviators would add an insurance run in the sixth inning but it would not be enough as it served as the team’s final run of the game.

With Ryan Cusick on the bump, it was a two-out error that allowed the batter to reach base. That mistake caused a chain reaction of a single (plus a stolen base), two-run triple to tie the game at six apiece and another reach on error, this time it plated the lead changing run for the Chihuahuas.

Cusick got the loss as well as the blown save.

Saturday, L, 17-16

Las Vegas held another lead on Saturday which included putting up a 10-run inning but eventually fell short in a marathon of a game with a parade of hits and runs.

The Aviators suffered this loss after having a lopsided lead on one of the more well-rounded performances by a hitter this season.

Center fielder Lawrence Butler launched a solo home run with one out in the first inning to open the day’s scoring. A grand slam from left fielder Tyler Nevin two innings later put the lead at 5-0 for Las Vegas.

Five different players drove in runs in the fourth inning with the heaviest blow coming from right fielder Hoy Park as he became the sixth. Park hit a three-run blast to put the visitors up 15-1, marking his second longball of the inning.

Prior to that, Park plastered a run on the board via an inside-the-park home run earlier in the same frame. He was perfect on the day, going 4-for-4 with two singles, two homers, five RBI, three runs scored and a walk.

Pitcher J.T. Ginn got the start for manager Fran Riordan’s group. The biggest blow against him came in the fourth inning when former Aviator Nate Mondou went yard, scoring two runs. An inning later, he’d allow back-to-back singles to open the frame before being yanked from the mound.

Ginn left with the game still intact after working four-plus innings, giving up five runs on five hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

The game wouldn’t stay intact for much longer as the Chihuahuas scored five runs in the fifth inning after Ginn had left the game.

With reliever Pedro Santos in the contest, El Paso pumped out a two-run single with nobody out. Santos would be removed from the mound shortly after with fellow reliever Tyler Ferguson getting his number called.

Ferguson gave up back-to-back RBI singles before the first out of the inning was recorded. Two more runs would score off Ferguson to tie the game at 15 ahead of a game-changing two-run single for the home team.

That swing completed a 14-run comeback as the Chihuahuas scored 16 unanswered runs.

Las Vegas faced batters with the bases loaded five times in the seventh inning, an inning that saw the team face a total of 14 men. Ferguson was saddled with the loss after being taxed for five runs on four hits in just ⅓ innings of work with a strikeout and three walks.

Sunday, L, 7-4

A deflating third straight loss to El Paso resulted in a series split in Las Vegas’ latest outing. The loss comes after a nearly flawless start to the contest for the visitors which resulted in another blown lead.

Through the first three innings, the Aviators were retired in order. A leadoff double in the fourth inning by shortstop Nick Allen served as the team’s first hit. First baseman Ryan Noda would drive in Allen on an RBI single with two outs.

Moments later, designated hitter Jordan Diaz smacked a single into the outfield for two more runs. In six games played this series, he racked up 12 hits in 24 at-bats with 10 RBI.

El Paso led by a run after the first inning of play but found itself climbing back into the game following the three-run fourth inning by Las Vegas.

Starting pitcher Joe Boyle left in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runners on and one out recorded. An RBI groundout would score the runner on third base setting the stage for a two-run single to take the lead.

Boyle would be responsible for three of those runs (two earned) on just one hit allowed during his 4 1//3 innings of work as he tallied three strikeouts and four walks.

With Boyle retired for the day, the bottom completely fell out with the bullpen taking over the bump.

An error opened the bottom of the sixth inning and spelled doom the rest of the way. The Chihuahuas followed that with an RBI double and RBI single before the first out was recorded. A two-out home run added insult to injury as the lead was increased to three.

Pitcher Aaron Brooks was given the loss after logging 3.2 innings on the mound with four runs allowed (two earned) on seven hits with a strikeout. He is now 1-7 this year with a 4.60 earned run average.

Second baseman Armando Alvarez blasted a sixth inning home run to initially tie the game at four apiece but that served as the final run for the Aviators. In fact, that went down as the team’s final hit of the game as it was only able to muster two baserunners the remainder of the contest.


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