The Las Vegas Aviators returned back to the home confines of the Las Vegas Ballpark for the first time since the all-star break as they started the first of a three-game series against the Reno Aces.
Coming into Friday’s game, the Aviators held an 8-4 record in the PCL West Standings, good for the top spot in the PCL West and tied with Round Rock for the second best spot in the entire PCL.
Friday, July 14: Reno 7, Las Vegas 3
A four-run first inning and three-run third inning made the difference in this one for the Reno Aces as they took the opener of this three-game set.
This loss for the Aviators drops them to 8-5 and sets them tied with Oklahoma City for the third best record in the PCL. Vegas still holds the lead in the PCL West by one game over Tacoma. Las Vegas is now two games behind first place Albuquerque for the best record in the PCL.
Saturday’s matchup is set for 7:05 p.m. at Las Vegas Ballpark and will mark the second of this brief three-game homestand for Vegas.
The Aviators responded to the four-run first inning with a three-run bottom of the first inning to draw within one run of the visitors heading into the top of the second.
Those would prove to be the lone three runs that Las Vegas would score all evening, being held scoreless the last eight innings of the game.
It is the first time since the start of the second half of the season that the Aviators have dropped the first game of a series.
Pitcher Kyle Muller took the loss for Vegas Friday night as he gave up seven earned runs on six hits and walked six batters in four innings of work. Muller is now 1-3 this year with a 6.98 earned run average.
Starter Nabil Crismatt grabbed the win for the Aces Friday, giving up no runs and no hits through one and a third innings pitched. He is now 1-1 on the season with a 6.62 ERA.
Saturday July 15, 2023: Las Vegas 13, Reno 4
After dropping the opening game of this series, the Las Vegas Aviators responded with a 13-4 win on Saturday night to even the series at one apiece.
The win moves Vegas to within one game of the best record in the PCL as they are tied with OKC for the second best record in the league. Vegas leads the PCL West by two games over Salt Lake and Tacoma.
Reliever Chase Cohen collected the win for Las Vegas, pitching two innings, giving up one hit while walking one batter and striking out four. Cohen is now 6-0 on the season with a 7.34 ERA.
Losing pitcher in this one is Reno’s Slade Cecconi who pitched four innings and gave up six runs on nine hits. He is now 4-7 with a 6.82 ERA on the season.
Saturday marked one of the handful of games this season that the Aviators have thrown back to their days as the Las Vegas Stars by dawning the throwback uniforms and signage around the ballpark.
It was the home team’s turn to strike first Saturday as the Aviators opened the game scoring two runs in the bottom of the 2nd to take the early 2-0 lead.
Las Vegas followed up their 2-run second inning with a 2-run third inning and 4-run fifth inning to jump out to a commanding 8-0 lead.
The bats were warm for Vegas on what was one of the hottest days in Vegas in 2023. Everyone with the exception of center fielder Max Schuemann recorded a hit in the contest. Schuemann would make up for it by robbing opposing shortstop Blaze Anderson of a homer that ended the fourth inning and stranded two runners in scoring position.
With each team taking a game so far in this three-game series, the rubber match is set for Sunday, July 16th at 6:05 from Las Vegas Ballpark.
For some added insurance, Vegas snagged another four-run inning in the eight to answer the four-run outburst that Reno put together in the top half of the inning.
The play of the game came off the bat of outfielder Conner Capel who recorded an inside-the-park home run for the Aviators. It’s the first inside-the-park home run of the season for the team.
Sunday July 16,2023: Reno 6, Las Vegas 4
In the rubber match of this three-game set, the Reno Aces found themselves on the winning side of this one, taking the 6-4 win over the Las Vegas Aviators.
The loss takes Las Vegas to 9-6 in the second half which is good for the fourth best record in the PCL behind Albuquerque, Round Rock, and Oklahoma City.
Pitcher Brandon Pfaadt is credited with the win for Reno, pitching five and two-thirds innings and giving up no runs on six hits and striking out eight. He is now 6-2 with a 3.71 ERA on the year.
Las Vegas pitcher Colin Peluse absorbed the loss in this one as he surrendered four runs on three hits which included a pair of home runs in less than an inning of work. Peluse suffered his first loss of the season and holds a 5.87 ERA for the season.
Starting pitcher Norge Ruiz suffered an apparent leg injury during the second inning. He was able to finish the inning but would not return the game following the frame. Ruiz finished with a line of two innings pitched, giving up no runs or hits while striking out one batter on 20 pitches.
The pitching woes continued for Las Vegas in this one as they combined for nine walks, the most in any of the three games this weekend.
Reno center fielder Dominic Fletcher and designated hitter Kyle Lewis each hit two-run home runs to break the scoreless tie and make it a 4-0 game in the fifth inning.
The Aces added another pair of runs in the seventh inning to extend the lead out to 6-0
Las Vegas’ Darell Hernaiz was the lone bright spot in Sunday’s contest for Vegas as he blasted a grand slam to left field to cut the deficit down to 6-4. The Aviators would not draw any closer after that homer.
With Sunday’s game wrapped up, the Aviators will hit the road for a six-game set against the Salt Lake Bees that starts on Tuesday July 18th and runs through Sunday, July 23rd. First pitch for each of these games is set for 5:35 pm.
Going into that series, Las Vegas now holds a two-game lead over Salt Lake in the PCL West.