The Reno Aces completed a home stand Sunday versus the Texas Rangers Triple A-affiliate Round Rock Express and the six-game series featured typical spring weather with warm sunshine, gusty winds, snow and lots of offense.
Aces pitchers got roughed up a bit allowing 60 runs to cross the plate, resulting in a 2-4 record for the series.
Game one was a preview of what was to come for the five games that followed. Reno spotted Round Rock an early 6-0 lead before storming back with nine unanswered runs of their own. Unfortunately, the Aces bullpen was unable to lock things down as they’ve done so often this season, sending Reno to a 13-9 defeat.
Game two was not the high scoring affair of the opener, but the pattern and the result stayed the same. Round Rock’s Sam Huff hit a pair of home runs, driving in four runs on the day and propelling the Express (named after Texas Rangers’ Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan’s nickname) to a 6-3 win.
The Aces notched a 8-4 victory in game three thanks to a five-run first inning and a solid 5 2/3 innings from Tommy Henry, who earned his first victory in an Aces uniform. It was also the first game of MiLB’s Copa de la Diversion series as the Aces debuted their 2022 Los Corazones de Reno uniforms, along with the Express in their Los Chupacabras threads. I scored it a draw on the uni’s with the Aces taking the best jersey honors and the Chupacabra hats coming out on top.
Game four saw Aces starter Tyler Gilbert get shelled for six earned runs in less than an inning of work, though he wasn’t alone on a breezy Friday fireworks night. No one told Round Rock that it was supposed to be the home team’s fireworks however, and they brought their own in a 19-5 decision over Reno.
The fifth game of the series was yet another wild affair at Greater Nevada Field with Round Rock prevailing 13-10. Despite the Aces jumping out to a 6-0 first inning lead on Buddy Kennedy’s grand slam, Round Rock would claw back with three runs in the top of the second inning and take the lead for good in the top of the fourth with another crooked number. Steele Walker’s three run blast off Aces reliever Caleb Baragar would fuel a seven-run fifth inning to give the Express a 10-7 advantage they would not relinquish.
The Aces would finally win their second game of the series against Round Rock in the finale, but they had to employ their secret weapon against the team from Texas to get it done. It took snow on Mother’s Day and an early 5-0 lead to overcome a shaky outing by Aces starter Dan Straily, who gave up a pair of home runs to Steele Walker in just three innings. The Aces bullpen put the Express on lockdown giving up just four hits and one run over the final six innings and held on for a 6-5 victory to end the home stand.
The Aces head out on the road for their first visit of the season to Tacoma to take on the Rainiers (Seattle Mariners) beginning today. They return home on May 17 against Las Vegas, which also includes a fireworks Friday and Marvel Defender of the Diamond night on Saturday May 21.
- Reno moves to 14-16 and currently sits in 4th place in the PCL West.
- Outfielder Alek Thomas got the call to join the Diamondbacks on May 8, and got his first MLB hit in his first game.
- Jake McCarthy was red hot vs. Round Rock going 12-for-23 (.522) with 1 HR and five RBI.
- Stone Garrett had his on base streak halted at 23 games.
Michael Smyth is a writer and photographer who moved to Reno from the Bay Area in 2007. Michael retired from a corporate road-warrior sales career in 2017 where he wrote freelance small-venue music reviews on the side to keep his sanity on the road. When he isn’t covering a concert or sporting event he might be found concocting a salsa recipe, throwing barbless flies in search of trout, or recapturing the skip-and-stop wedge shot of his youth.