Alfredo Marte hit a walk-off RBI single to lift the Reno Aces over the Salk Lake Bees in Sunday’s series-ending win at Aces Ballpark.
The Aces jumped ahead in the second when Andy Marte blasted a two-run home run, scoring Nick Evans from third, off Bee’s pitcher Matt Shoemaker. Salt Lake’s Drew Heid singled to start the third before each Marte recorded outs from pop flies off Taylor Lindsey and Matt Long. Reno pitcher Bo Shultz allowed another single before striking out the side to end the inning.
Shoemaker faced the entire Aces line-up in the fourth starting with a Mike Jacobs double. Blake Lalli hit a single, scoring Jacobs and making the score to 3-0. Andy Marte got on base with a single before Oeltjen hit a sacrifice fly advancing the runners to second and third. Next, Nick Ahmed hit a blooper to shallow right for a single and an RBI that scored Lalli. Leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte hit a two-run double scoring Ahmed and Andy Marte making 6-0. Shoemaker would strikeout Didi Gregorious and walk Alfredo Marte before retiring Evans.
The Bees tied the score in the seventh with six runs against three Aces’ pitchers. C.J. Cron started with a triple and stayed at third when Luis Jiminez grounded out. Cron scored on a Jimmy Swift infield single. John Hester hit a single which brought in Swift.
Reno Manager Phil Nevin opted for a pitching change bringing in Eury De La Rosa. Shultz’s day ended with seven hits, three runs and three strikeouts.
Heid then reached base on an error by Gregorious at third scoring Hester. Lindsey was called out on strikes which brought up Long with a runner on first. Long homered to right field bringing the score to 6-5.
“I think that was just a Reno home run, up in the wind. You can’t do anything about it,” Nevin said. “He made a good pitch and (Long) just popped one up and it flew out of here.”
De La Rosa’s day was over as Reno made another pitching change bringing in Evan Marshall. Grant Green doubled and Navarro grounded out to end the inning leaving Reno up one after having a six-run lead going into the seventh.
Reno made it’s third call to the bullpen to start the ninth inning bringing in Jess Todd.
With Long on first and Lindsey on third, Green hit a ground ball back to Todd, who calmly threw to Lalli behind the plate as an unsuspecting Lindsey was jogging home for the tying run. Lindsey was tagged out keeping Reno ahead. Runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, so Nevin called for an intentional walk on Navarro to load the bases with two outs. Todd walked the next batter, Cron, tying the game 6-6.
“That was the first hiccup (Todd’s) had since he’s been around, and really, it wasn’t a hiccup. They didn’t hit a ball hard that inning,” Nevin said of his closer.
The Bees brought in Brandon Lyon for Buddy Boshers, who took the mound in the seventh, to face the top of the Aces lineup. Inciarte singled to lead off and Gregorious reached on a bunt bringing up Alfredo Marte.
Alfredo Marte singled to right scoring Inciarte and giving Reno the 7-6 win. It was Todd’s second win of the season.
“I’m a little disappointed with how we finished. We had two runners picked off today, we had three uncharacteristic defensive mistakes, allowed a runner to score from first on a single to center. By all rights, the way we played the last few innings, we didn’t really deserve to win that game. I know those things will happen, you make mistakes. You got a team down like that, you got to put them away. I think it was just a good lesson learned,” Nevin said. “For Ender and (Alfredo) Marte, to come up big late in the game after they made mistakes early showed that they were still in it, and I was proud of that.”
The four-game series was split putting Reno at 12-12 on the season and Salt Lake 9-15. The Bees have won only three away games this season, two coming in this series.
Reno now travels to Las Vegas for a four-game series against the 51s.