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Winless opening weekend is how Aviators’ campaign begins

Updated: Mar 31

The Las Vegas Aviators don’t have don’t have the fondest memories of games played against the Reno Aces as of late. Those memories got worse after a winless opening weekend for Las Vegas as it lost both opportunities at its intra-state rival.

Reno snatched both games played from Las Vegas Ballpark this past weekend as the Saturday game was postponed due to weather. Last season, the Aces took 15 of the 24 games played in the Silver State Rivalry and now lead the all-time series 137-120.

It was a lopsided offensive showing in the hits department as the Aviators were outhit by 22 the 18 total innings played. Moreover, the team’s pitching staff served up six home runs to the opponent versus just seven total hits in the series for the team’s offense.

Las Vegas will look to shake off the cobwebs with its first road trip of the season in the form of a six-game series with the Sugar Land Cowboys of the Houston Astros organization. That series is set to begin Tuesday, April 2 with first pitch slated for 4:05 p.m.

Friday, L, 4-2

Hovering around the strike zone too much too early put Las Vegas behind the eight-ball in a  4-2 season opening loss to Reno Friday night.

Starting pitcher Aaron Brooks was taxed for seven hits and two runs in just 4 ⅓ innings of work. It got going early as he found himself down, 1-0, after just five pitches into the game. Two two-out hits in the third inning pushed across the Aces’ second run of the game.

Of the 13 pitches thrown by Brooks in the first inning, 12 of them were strikes. Ultimately, he’d throw 46 strikes in his 70-pitch outing before eventually getting the loss.

Reliever Adrian Martinez issued the first Las Vegas walk of the game in the fifth inning but would get the runner out in one of the three double plays forced by the Aviators’ defense.

Fellow reliever Jack O’Loughlin wasn’t as lucky, giving up a home run on the third pitch of his first appearance of the season. Three innings later, reliever Vinny Nittoli coughed up another longball on the fourth pitch he hurled from the mound.

Only three hits put forth by the Las Vegas offense versus 12 hits for Reno. The most productive inning for the home team came in the sixth inning when two runs came across to score behind a two-base throwing error and RBI sacrifice fly.

Left fielder Hoy Park recorded the game’s lone RBI for the home team.

The Aviators went down in order through the first four innings of the game and did not collect their first hit until a leadoff single by third baseman Brett Harris to open the bottom of the sixth.

Saturday, Postponed due to weather

Sunday, L, 15-2

Being fully-rested wasn’t enough as the Las Vegas bats went quiet again during a 15-2 loss to Reno in the series finale.

Once again the home team was dominated in the hits category by its intra-state rival being outhit in this one by more than 10.

The scoring opened with back-to-back home runs in the second inning with one out recorded. An inning later, outfielder Randal Grichuk would add another longball during his rehab stint for an ankle injury. As a team, the Aces hit six home runs in the two games played this series.

Starting pitcher Joey Estes just couldn’t get things to go his way as he gave up two more runs in the fourth inning on a two-run double that hit the third base bag and trickled into the outfield.

Estes would be given the loss after tossing four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits in the process. He added four strikeouts and two walks to go along with his 11.25 earned run average.

Even with that start, the game’s biggest inning came in the seventh when Reno erupted for eight runs on six hits while sending 11 men to the plate. As a result, manager Fran Riordan was forced to burn two relief arms out of the bullpen.

Las Vegas would trail by as many as 15 runs in the game.

The Aviators were retired in order through the first 4 ⅓ innings of the series finale. In fact, when center fielder Daz Cameron singled and stole second base in the bottom of the fifth, he became the first Las Vegas baserunner to advance past first.

By the start of the eighth inning, the Aviators had only tallied two hits while being retired in order six times total in the game. Moreover, the team entered the ninth inning on the heels of seven straight batters being sat down in order.

Catcher Tyler Soderstrom plated the only Las Vegas runs on the day with a two-run home run in the ninth inning for his first and the team’s first dinger of the year.


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