RENO — The Reno Aces split the season opening four-game series against the El Paso Chihuahuas at Aces Ballpark.
“I think everyone is excited (to start the season) coming off a long spring training,” said first baseman Nick Evans.
The series split came Sunday afternoon with a 9-1 Reno win in front of a crowd of 5,640.
Archie Bradley, baseball’s No. 1 pitching prospect, got the start on the mound with a 1-2-3 first inning. He recorded only four hits in five innings with no runs, two walks and two strikeouts.
“I thought Archie worked in and out of some trouble and really battled to get through those five innings to get the win,” said Aces manager Phil Nevin. “He was coming up on a pitch count and I really wanted him to get through the five innings.”
Mark Serrano came in at the start of the sixth inning allowing three hits including a home run from El Paso’s Kyle Banks in the eight inning, which proved to be the Chihuahuas only run of the game. Joe Peterson finished out the game by pitching the ninth inning.
The Aces bats were hot early as clean-up hitter Mike Jacobs hit an RBI double in the first inning bringing home Didi Gregorius.
“First and foremost, the top of the order really got it going for us today,” said Nevin. “(Ender) Inciarte and Didi were three hits a piece and when you get that speed on the base pass it creates havoc. It sparked the rest of the lineup.”
In the second inning, Inciarte tripled that drove in Nick Ahmed and Bradley. The throw to third base got past El Paso’s Alex Castellanos allowing Inciarte to score on the error.
The Aces scored five more through the end of the game with RBIs from Inciarte, Bobby Wilson and Cody Ross.
“I thought we played well all four days. The defense has been outstanding, ” he said. “We ran into a good pitcher (Saturday) night and it’s just one of those things. You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some, but if we go about our business and pitch and play defense the way we have these four days then we’re going to win a lot more games than we’re going to lose. I really like the way these guys go about their business.”
This is Nevin’s first year as manager of Reno after spending the last three seasons with the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League.
“So far, pitching has been tremendous,” Evans said. “As long as our pitching keeps doing what they’re doing, I think we’ll be fine.”
Evans, who’s only three away from 1,000 career hits, went 3-for-7 over the series with two RBIs and a walk.
The first three games were a Thursday night 7-5 loss, Friday’s 2-0 win and Saturday’s 0-2 loss.