Updated: Aug 21, 2022
The second series sweep in the last seven weeks has knocked the Las Vegas Aviators out of first place in their division for the first time since late May.
Las Vegas was swept in a three-game road series against the Round Rock Express of the Texas Rangers organization. The sweep also included the team being shutout for the third time in the last seven games.
This year’s Aviators team is 4-8 against the Express this season.
With mishaps on the road, Las Vegas has slipped into the second spot in the Pacific Coast League West standings and now trail the Reno Aces of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. The difference is now two and a half games between the two clubs.
The Aviators are now 21-23 on the road this season.
The nine-game road trip continues for Las Vegas as it heads to the Albuquerque Isotopes to close July.
Tuesday, July 26 marks the beginning of the series from Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 p.m.
Friday, L, 8-5
An early hole became too much for Las Vegas to dig out of as it dropped the series opener, 8-5, to Round Rock.
It wasn’t the Aviators night from the start of the game as their starter Parker Dunshee served up a leadoff full-count home run to open things in the bottom of the first inning. Three batters later, he was taken yard again for another solo shot, this time on the first pitch.
An inning later, Dunshee allowed three straight hits that eventually scored another run. Before the end of the half frame, two more runs would score while only recording one out.
Dunshee (3-9, 7.76 ERA) was knocked around for seven runs (five earned) on eight hits in just an inning and a third.
That’s the third straight loss for Dunshee. In addition, he’s 0-8 in his last 10 starts.
Las Vegas was down 7-0 before heading into the third inning.
From there, the Aviators would score runs in three straight innings and ultimately get as close as three runs but that was as close as they’d get.
First baseman Billy McKinney got the road team on the board first with a two-out RBI single in the top of the third. McKinney smacked a two-out double in the first inning before being left stranded.
Left fielder Vince Fernandez joined in on the scoring with a leadoff home run to open up the fourth inning. That was his 12th dinger of the year, good for second on the Las Vegas roster.
The Aviators made it back-to-back innings with leadoff shots after catcher Shea Langeliers got in on the action for his 17th longball of the year. He leads the team in that category as that was his lone hit in five trips to the plate.
Third baseman Mickey McDonald also knocked in a run as part of a two-run fourth inning for Las Vegas.
Both teams traded runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
McKinney drove in the final run of the game on an RBI single, as he put the finishing touches on a three-hit night. He went 3-for-5 with two singles, a double and an RBI.
Fernandez also recorded three hits, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. He went 3-for-5 with a single, double, home run, RBI, run scored and strikeout.
Saturday, L, 2-0
The Aviators suffered their third shutout in the last six games after dropping the second of a three-game series against the Express, 2-0. That ensures a series loss for Las Vegas.
Starting pitcher Adrian Martinez held it together early leaving multiple Round Rock batters stranded while scattering some hits around.
He worked around a two-out double that served as the first hit of the game for the Express in the bottom of the second inning. Martinez would leave that runner stranded.
That trend remained through the next two frames despite offering up one-out singles in both the third and fourth innings.
Martinez even worked with a runner on-base and no outs after allowing a leadoff single to open the bottom of the fifth inning. He would immediately induce two strikeouts and a flyout.
His luck would run out in the sixth inning when a leadoff double came around to score on an RBI single for the game’s first run.
Martinez (4-5, 5.56 ERA) finished the inning to close his outing, giving up a run on six hits in six innings pitched while recording six strikeouts and a walk.
The tendency to leave runners stranded despite allowing a hit sparingly continued when the Las Vegas bullpen entered the game.
Reliever Jacob Lemoine gave up a leadoff single followed by a walk for a two-on, none out scenario. A sacrifice bunt and double play that went 6-3-4-2-6-3-5 with outs at first and third base.
The buck stopped as reliever Adam Kolarek was tagged for a one-out, solo home run to put Round Rock up 2-0. The home run was hit by third baseman Andy Ibañez, who also scored the first run of the game for the home after hitting that leadoff double.
While the Express had woes bringing runners across to score, the Aviators had many more of the same issues.
A leadoff single was left stranded after a strikeout ended the top of the second inning with two runners on.
Left fielder Luis Barerra felt the same effects after leading off the sixth inning with a double for only the second Las Vegas hit of the night. He was left stranded after a groundout and two strikeouts followed him.
More missed opportunities came in the top of the eighth inning after a leadoff walk was all-for-not after a fielder’s choice and two groundouts ended the half-frame.
With one final gasp for air, first baseman Matt Davidson led off the ninth inning with a single. He was the lead runner left stranded in the second inning after another leadoff single.
Davidson accounted for two of the four Aviator hits.
Pinch-runner Mickey McDonald entered the game and followed the trend after being left stranded after a putout and back-to-back strikeouts handed Round Rock the game.
Las Vegas left eight runners on-base, going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Sunday, L, 2-1
Despite holding its first lead of the series, Las Vegas lost, 2-1, on a walk-off, wasting another beautiful start from its pitching staff.
Pitcher Collin Wiles worked around a leadoff single to open the home half of the first inning after recording a strikeout swinging, flyout and strikeout looking, stranding the runner at second.
Between the second and fourth innings, Wiles retired seven straight. That was until he was taken deep for a leadoff home run to open the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at one apiece.
Wiles (7-6, 4.95 ERA) settled back in and retired six in a row before being pulled from the game. He left with a run allowed on two hits in seven innings of work while striking out six and walking one.
He had now produced a quality start in nine of his 18 starts this season. Previously, he had five straight such outings before being ejected in his most recent start.
Manager Fran Riordan turned the ball over to reliever Garrett Acton, who had still yet to give up an earned run.
Acton struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth inning with the latter two coming with swings.
However, his luck ran out in the bottom of the ninth inning after being left to work from the stretch with two-on and nobody out after a walk and single.
Acton would induce a flyout but right after an RBI single ended the game, serving as the first earned run of the season off Acton this season.
Acton (1-2, 0.59 ERA) had gone 15.1 innings pitched without allowing an earned run.