Aces’ 12-run fireworks ends in defeat |

Aces’ 12-run fireworks ends in defeat

Provided to the Tribune

RENO – Brandon Watson’s ninth-inning grand slam was not enough to complete an Aces’ comeback Saturday night, as Reno fell 14-12 to the Sacramento River Cats in a Pacific Coast League baseball game in front of the largest crowd in Aces’ Ballpark history.

Saturday’s Fourth of July attendance was 9,192, which trumped the previous high of 9,167 set during the April 17 home opener.

After taking a brief 3-2 lead in the third inning, Reno trailed the rest of the game but mounted several comeback bids against the division-leading River Cats. Down 11-5 in the eighth, the Aces plated two runs on RBI singles by Orlando Mercado and Trent Oeltjen, but left the bases loaded. In the ninth, Watson’s grand slam capped a five-run inning, but River Cats’ reliever Jay Marshall induced a game-ending flyout to preserve the victory for Sacramento.

Reno starter Cesar Valdez (6-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing nine earned runs in five innings of work in his roughest outing of the season.

The win went to Sacramento starter Jerome Williams (1-3), who allowed five earned runs over five innings of work. Marshall recorded the final out to earn his fourth save.

Oeltjen (3 for 6) and Watson (4 for 4) led Reno’s offense, each scoring a run and driving in four. Josh Whitesell went 2 for 5 for Reno with his sixth home run, and Mercado chipped in two RBI.

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This series continues Sunday as Reno sends right-hander Tony Barnette (6-6, 5.71 ERA) to the hill to face off against River Cats’ right-hander Chad Reineke (2-3, 4.06 ERA). Game time is 5:05 p.m.