The Aces jumped ahead in the second inning on a Konrad Schmidt two-run homer, and Reno added to its lead with single runs in the third and fourth frames. But the Express would fire back, pushing across three in the fifth and two more in the sixth to earn the victory and even the series at a game apiece.
Kyler Newby made a spot start for Reno in place of scheduled starter Zach Kroenke, and the right-hander allowed three runs on four hits over 4 2-3 innings of work. Newby struck out six and walked just two, but was victimized by a three-run homer off the bat of Chris Davis with two outs in the fifth.
Out of the Reno bullpen, Josh Ellis (0-1) took the loss in his 2011 Aces debut, surrendering two runs on two hits in an inning of work. Tom Layne worked 2 1-3 scoreless innings, striking out five of the nine batters he faced.
The win went to Express reliever Michael Kirkman (1-3), who worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Pedro Strop struck out Brandon Allen with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run on second to close out the proceedings and earn his first save.
In addition to Cowgill’s three-hit night, Cole Gillespie and Cody Ransom chipped in two hits apiece for the Aces.
The Aces and Express get back at it again tonight at Dell Diamond. Right-hander Seth McClung (2-0, 3.92 ERA) will toe the slab for the Express. Reno’s starter is to be determined. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. PT.
The first-place Aces return home on Friday, May 27 for a four-game set against the Sacramento River Cats.