Another series loss to Reno for Aviators
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Things are trending in the wrong direction as Las Vegas are on another three-game losing streak following a series loss to Reno.
The Aces took four of six away from the Aviators from Las Vegas Ballpark this past week.
This season, Las Vegas are 9-15 against their intrastate rival.
It was another chance for the Aviators to make up significant room in the Western Division of the Triple-A West.
However, after coming into the series four games back of Reno for second place in the division, the team is now six games away from the next spot up.
In addition, Las Vegas (60-54) has now fallen nine games behind the Tacoma Rainiers for first place in the division.
The Aviators will now head back to the road for a six-game series with the Sacramento River Cats.
The series will begin on Thursday, Sept. 16 with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.
Thursday, W, 6-3
Errors played the biggest role in Las Vegas’ 6-3 win over Reno to open their six-game series from Las Vegas Ballpark.
Four of the five errors committed by the Aces were committed in innings four and six, where the Aviators scored three of their six runs.
An error by first baseman Juniel Querecuto allowed second baseman Nick Allen to reach and load the bases.
Right fielder Mickey McDonald had an RBI fielder’s choice but reached bases after a throwing error from second baseman Ildemaro Vargas.
In the sixth inning, Allen walked to open the frame and would come around to score without any help aside from two throwing errors by the Reno infield.
Shortstop Pete Kozma would also reach later that inning on an error by the third baseman Christian Lopes.
Two of the six Las Vegas runs were unearned.
Kozma hit the game’s only home run of the night when he stepped to the plate in the first inning for his 400th at-bat of the season, good for second in all of MiLB.
The older player on the Aviator roster’s solo shot opened the scoring for both sides.
Kozma went 1-for-3 with a home run, RBI, run scored and strikeout. In addition, he extended his hitting streak to six games.
Left fielder Carlos Perez and first baseman Francisco Peña also tallied RBI on the night.
Las Vegas starter Brian Howard (5-4) got his first win in five tries against Reno, going 5 ⅔ innings, allowing two runs on seven hits to go with four strikeouts and three walks.
It was his first win since Aug. 16.
However, in the ninth inning with reliever Grant Holmes on the mound, the Aviators allowed the game-tying run to come to the plate with one out after an RBI single and a walk back-to-back.
Reliever Domingo Acevedo entered the game and shut the door for the last two outs, securing his eighth save of the season.
Friday, L, 11-5
It had been three-plus months since pitcher Parker Dunshee started a game for the Aviators; however he returned to the rotation with a 11-5 loss to the Aces.
Despite making an appearance out of the bullpen on Monday, Sept. 5, Dunshee made his return to the rotation after undergoing right shoulder surgery in June.
In three innings of work, Dunshee was hit hard for seven runs (five earned) on nine hits while tallying just one strikeout on 55 pitches.
It was a rough go at things from the start of the night.
The first two balls put into play off Reno bats were lost in the lights by third baseman Vimael Machîn and center fielder Luis Barrera.
Shortstop Nick Allen also committed an error in the inning.
Barrera appeared to have a leaping grab out in the outfield but would lose control of the ball as he crashed into the center field wall.
The Aces batted around in the opening inning and hit for a team cycle in the frame.
Dunshee is now 1-4 on the season with an 6.47 earned run average with three of his six starts coming against Reno. Las Vegas got its first two runs of the game off the bat of right fielder Mickey McDonald who opened the home team scoring with an RBI single in the third inning.
Additionally, he recorded another RBI single in the seventh inning to cut the deficit to 10-2.
He ended the night 3-for-4 with three singles, two RBI, a strikeout, a stolen base and a run scored.
However, even with a pinch-hit three-run home run from second baseman Nate Mondou in the seventh, the Aviators were not able to complete the comeback effort.
Before being removed from the game for Mondou, second baseman Pete Kozma went 2-for-3 with two singles and a strikeout.
His first hit of the night in the first inning was his 1,000 minor league hit.
As a team, the Aviators struck out 10 times, nine of which were swinging strikeouts.
Saturday, W, 6-5
It took three starts but pitcher Brady Feigl got his first Triple-A win of his career in Las Vegas’ 6-5 win over Reno.
Feigl had to work from behind after allowing a two-run home run in the second inning to put the Aviators down 2-0 to the Aces.
More trouble loomed in the third inning as Feigl walked the bases loaded with one out but only surrendered one run in the half frame.
He would settle down the rest of the way, turning in back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth.
Feigl had three such innings during his five-inning outing, where he allowed three hits on three hits to go along with four strikeouts and four walks.
Not long after Feigl gave up the lead, Las Vegas regained it behind a four-run second inning beginning with loading the bases with no one out.
All three runners would come around to score, two came to the plate on a two-run single by center fielder Mickey McDonald.
In the fourth inning, McDonald added another RBI to his total on a single that scored right fielder Luis Barrera, who was standing at third base behind two stolen bases following his leadoff single.
McDonald went 2-for-4 with two singles, three RBI and a stolen base.
The Aces would add two more runs in the seventh inning to cut the deficit to one run but they never could regain their early lead.
The win moves Las Vegas to within three games of Reno and second place in the Western Division of the Triple-A West.
Moreover, the team is now six games out of first place, currently held by the Tacoma Rainiers.
Sunday, L, 14-5
Nine unanswered runs by the Aces allowed Reno to take game four of six from Las Vegas Ballpark away from the Las Vegas Aviators.
With the game tied at five, Reno shutout Las Vegas through the last six innings of the game while scoring nine runs between the fifth and eighth innings.
Three batters turned in two-hit nights as right fielder Luis Barrera, third baseman Vimael Machîn and catcher Aramis Garcia recorded RBIs.
Center fielder Mickey McDonald tallied two RBIs.
Already up 3-0 in the top of the third, starting pitcher Homer Bailey was cruising after two straight 1-2-3 innings.
However, in the third inning Bailey loaded the bases with no outs but would surrender five runs with two outs including a three-run double.
Barrera would score Machîn in the bottom half of the frame on his sixth triple of the year. He would later come around on a sacrifice fly from Garcia.
Bailey (1-5) allowed two more runs in the fifth inning after the first two batters reached on a single and a double.
In five innings of work, Bailey gave up seven runs on eight hits to go along with four strikeouts and one walk.
The next two pitchers (Zack Erwin and Grant Holmes) out of the bullpen were taxed for six runs on seven hits in just two innings of work.
By that point, the lead was eight after a two-run double by Las Vegas native and Aces utility man Jake Hager in the seventh.
The Aviators were retired in order in the eighth and ninth innings after four leadoff men reached in the first seven innings of the game.
Monday, L, 6-3
It was a collapse of epic proportions as the Aviators coughed away a late lead and ended up losing 6-3 to the Aces.
The result comes after two ninth inning Reno home runs after Las Vegas took a 3-2 lead into the final frame.
The Aviators were two outs away from closing the gap between second and third place back to three games.
Two more runs scored in the inning as part of four straight hits by Las Vegas’ opponent en route to its four-run ninth inning.
Prior to the debilitating ninth, the Aviators were aided by some pretty outstanding pitching.
Pitcher A.J. Puk got the spot start for Las Vegas, allowing two runs on three hits while tallying four strikeouts and one walk.
The two runs came via a two-run home run in the first inning, an inning where Puk struck out the side.
In the bottom of the second, the Aviators got those two runs back and then some as it scored three runs beginning with a solo home run from designated hitter Aramis Garcia.
It was Garcia’s first home run of the season.
Garcia went 1-for-3 with that home run, RBI and run scored.
The additional two runs were scored off a two-run single by left fielder Marty Bechina, who went 1-for-3 on the night.
Reliever Kyle Friedrichs came out for the third inning and proceeded to retire the first 10 batters he faced.
In addition, he faced the minimum through all six of the innings he pitched.
Friedrichs’ final stat line was four strikeouts to one hit allowed in those six innings. He was given the no-decision after the ninth inning home run given up by reliever Ben Bracewell.
He was aided by some great defensive plays behind him starting with a sliding catch by right fielder Luis Barrera in the third inning.
In the sixth inning, first baseman Carlos Perez made the sliding stop before running to the base for the first out of the frame.
Once more it happened in the seventh as center fielder Mickey McDonald made a diving catch in dead center.
Bracewell (5-3) got the loss after working ⅔ of an inning where he gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits.
He was also charged with the blown save.
The pitching was so dominant that it negated the four double plays that Las Vegas grounded into in eight innings at the plate.
Tuesday, L, 8-2
Yet another series ends with a three-game losing streak for the Aviators as they lost 8-2 to the Aces.
This three-game losing streak comes after Las Vegas took two of the first three at Las Vegas Ballpark.
Starting pitcher Mike Fiers made a major league rehab start but fell behind early winding up with the loss.
Fiers pitched 1.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
Reno build a 4-0 lead through the first three innings.
The additional run was given up by pitcher Brian Howard during his 4.1 inning, four-run outing on seven hits.
This comes despite his five recorded strikeouts.
The Aviators were down 7-0 after five and a half innings before third baseman Vimael Machîn’s two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth.
It was his 10th home run of the year and he recorded RBIs 56 and 57.
That home run was Machîn's only hit in three trips to the plate.
First baseman Francisco Peña was the only Las Vegas batter to tally two hits, going 2-for-4 with two singles.