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Series split ends road trip for Aviators as homestand looms

From losing five straight games to salvaging a series split in their most recent outing, the Las Vegas Aviators are back to their winning ways.

In a six games road series against the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Aviators came away with three wins in the final four games to eke out a split.

So far this season in 12 games played between these two clubs, both have six wins.

Over the last nine games, Las Vegas has a 3-6 record. All games have come on the road, where the team now has a 16-16 record.

Overall, the Aviators are 37-28 on the year and still sit in first place of the Pacific Coast League West.

Currently, the team sits two and a half games up on the Reno Aces of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and six and a half games ahead of the Salt Lake Bees of the Los Angeles Angels organization.

Las Vegas lead the division despite having a -3 run differential.

Next, the team will return home for a six-game series with the Albuquerque Isotopes from the Las Vegas Ballpark.

Tuesday, L, 10-9

A comeback effort by the Aviators fell just short as the Chihuahuas squeaked out a one-run win in the series opener.

It marked the fourth straight loss for Las Vegas.

The deficit was as large as seven runs as late as the start of the eighth inning. Although, the team did hit an offensive switch, scoring eight of its nine runs from that point forward in a losing effort.

Four straight one-out hits in the eighth inning produced three runs beginning with a home run from second baseman Sheldon Neuse for his third blast of the year.

He now has six RBI in the last six games after recording an RBI single in the fifth inning on his way to a 3-for-5 night with two singles, a home run, two RBI, a run scored and a strikeout.

Designated hitter Vimael Machín’s RBI triple came after a single from first baseman Dermis Garcia. Machín would be driven in on an RBI single from third baseman Kevin Smith.

That burst made the deficit four but El Paso would extend the lead to six heading into the ninth inning.

Left fielder Nate Mondou scored a run on an RBI groundout for the first out of the frame as the remaining runs were scored with two outs.

These runs includes a two-run single from Garcia, another RBI triple from Machín and another RBI single from Smith, who would be tossed out at the plate after a single from catcher Shea Langeliers.

Las Vegas just couldn’t get around the early deficit as starter Adrian Martinez had his three-game win streak snapped.

Martinez (3-3) pitched five innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

Relievers Adam Kolarek and Grant Holmes combined to give up five runs on five hits in three innings of relief, tallying six strikeouts to just one walk.

All three pitchers served up home run balls.

Wednesday, L, 11-4

The losing streak is up to five games for Las Vegas after an 11-4 loss to El Paso on Wednesday night.

Pitcher Jack Cushing made his first Triple-A start, though it only lasted two innings.

The first four Chihuahua batters reached base after Cushing hit the first batter and would compound it by yielding a double, two-run single to open the scoring.

The drama culminated with a two-run home run by the home team to run the score to 4-0 in the early going.

Cushing allowed a second home run in the second inning.

He left the game with a final stat line of two innings pitched, seven hits and five runs with no strikeouts or walks.

Cushing has a 22.50 earned run average to start his Triple-A career.

The Las Vegas offense would finally strike, putting forth a four-run third inning.

Six straight batters reached for the Aviators in the frame as designated hitter Skye Bolt knocked in the first run on an RBI single. He is now batting .462 with Las Vegas this year.

Additionally, second baseman Vimael Machín and first baseman Sheldon Neuse drove in runs, Machín had a two-run single while Neuse drove in a run on a single.

The former has four RBIs through the first two games of the series while the latter collected his third RBI of the series.

Bolt and Neuse were the only two with two hits while Machín was the only with multiple RBI.

As a response, the Chihuahuas scored in each of the last five innings as all five Aviators pitchers gave up at least one run while nobody logged more than two innings of work.

El Paso scored in seven of the eight innings they were up to bat.

Thursday’s game was suspended and completed on Friday as part of a double-header

Friday, W, 13-4 (Game One)

The losing streak for Las Vegas came to a screeching halt as it was able to oust El Paso, 13-4, for the team’s first win of the series on the fourth day.

A big sixth inning prior to the weather delay-turned-suspension was more than enough for the Aviators to regain its winning ways.

It was a five-run sixth inning that turned a one-run Aviator lead into six after four of the first five batters walked.

Shortstop Nick Allen connected on a two-run double, his 10th of the year. He also recorded an RBI sacrifice bunt in the third inning.

Designated hitter Sheldon Neuse also drove in two runs on a single for his second run-producing hit of the day. He recorded an RBI double in the third.

Insurance runs in the ninth added icing on the cake as second baseman Vimael Machín walked in another run for the second time in the game.

Neuse also poured on two more runs after another double for his second extra-base hit of the night.

The trio of Machín, Allen and Neuse combined to go 6-of-15 with three singles, three doubles, 11 RBI, four runs scored, two walks and two strikeouts.

Pitcher Norge Ruiz (4-0) got his fourth win of the year after pitching around two hits in his 1 ⅓ innings of work, walking two and striking out one in the process.

He now has a 2.75 ERA this season.

Starter Zach Logue got the no-decision after pitching 4 ⅔ innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts and five walks.

Friday, L, 14-4 (Game Two)

In the finale of the Friday doubleheader, Las Vegas had the roles reversed as it was defeated by El Paso, 14-4.

The loss comes after the Aviators were outscored 13-1 over the last five innings as they gave up more than 10 runs for the third time in four games.

Las Vegas built a 3-0 lead through the first three and a half innings but it was all-for-not as it took a 3-2 lead into the sixth.

El Paso put forth back-to-back five-run innings in the sixth and seventh.

Reliever Ryan Castellani had an interesting night, giving up five runs in the seventh, all of which were unearned. He gave up a grand slam nine pitches after a fielding error from second baseman Vimael Machín.

Starter Parker Dunshee (1-6) had his downhill slide continue, losing his fifth game in his last seven outings.

He went five full, giving up four runs on seven hits while recording six strikeouts. All four Las Vegas pitchers allowed at least two runs.

Dunshee has not won a game since May 4.

Third baseman Sheldon Neuse was the Aviator player with three hits highlighted by a solo home run with one out in the seventh inning.

Neuse now has 13 RBI in his first ten Triple-A games this year, including nine this series and at least one in every game.

Center fielder Skye Bolt also had two RBI while left fielder Nate Mondou tallied one.

Saturday, W, 14-5

A 10-0 start to the game set the tone for the Aviators to claim its second win in two days over the Chihuahuas, this time by a final score of 14-5.

Las Vegas used a six-run second inning to pace it’s 10-0 start to the contest.

The team batted around in the second inning as a triple from center fielder Vince Fernandez opened the inning and his strikeout closed it.

In between, right fielder Christian Lopes, shortstop Sheldon Neuse, third baseman Vimael Machín and designated hitter Dermis Garcia drove in runs.

Lopes and Neuse hit singles while Machín knocked around his third triple of the series. Lastly, Garcia’s run came across the plate on a sacrifice fly.

The Aviators hit nine extra-base hits, three of which were home runs to go along with four doubles and two triples.

Left fielder Dalton Kelly hit his eighth homer of the year, this time a solo shot, in the third inning.

Catcher Shea Langeliers’ two-run home run in the fourth gave the road team the 10-0 advantage. It marked his 12th home run and 32nd and 33rd RBI of the year.

Lopes put the finishing touches on the Las Vegas longballs with a three-run home run in the four-run ninth inning for the Aviators.

That was his first of the season.

Starter Collin Wiles got his first win since May 12 after tossing six innings, yielding three runs on nine hits as well as nine strikeouts.

The nine strikeouts tie a career-high for Wiles. His previous season-high was five on two separate occasions.

He had lost three of his last five starts prior to this win.

Sunday, W, 4-3

A one-run series finale win for the Las Vegas Aviators means another series split against the El Paso Chihuahuas.

In order to salvage the .500 split, Las Vegas had to record its three wins in the final three days of the series with a suspended game thrown in the mix.

It was the bullpen that slammed the door shut after allowing just one run on four hits over the last 3 ⅓ innings.

The trio of Sam Selman, Domingo Tapia and Kirby Snead did the heavy-lifting, recording two holds and a save. In addition, the group tallied four strikeouts and no walks.

Selman picked up his third hold of the year but was tagged for the reliever’s lone run of the contest via a home run in the seventh inning.

Tapia followed by claiming his sixth hold of the season, recording two of the four strikeouts for the bullpen.

Finally, Snead was awarded his first save of the year as he worked around a leadoff single, retiring three of the final four batters including the game-sealing strikeout looking.

Starter Adrian Martinez made good of his second start of the series, picking up his fourth win of the year.

He scattered six hits around 5 ⅔ innings of work, allowing two runs in the process while striking out seven and walking one.

Martinez (4-3) is now 4-1 in his last five appearances and has a 5.28 ERA this season.

Second baseman Vimael Machín was responsible for ⅓ of the Las Vegas offense, accounting for three of the team’s nine hits. He went 3-for-4 with a single, two doubles, three RBI and a walk.

The first double drove in two runs in the fifth inning and came after designated hitter Sheldon Neuse’s RBI sacrifice fly.

Neuse recorded 12 RBI this series while tallying at least one in all six games.

Machín’s next double came in ground-rule fashion as he knocked in another run in the seventh.

He now has 45 RBI on the year, including 12 this series.

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