Las Vegas scored all 16 of its runs in a three-inning stretch that bridged the second, third and fourth fames. That proved to be plenty of offense for the southern Nevada squad as it cruised to a 16-8 road romp at Aces Stadium.
Reno, which trailed by 14 runs at one point, had twice been tagged with 14-run losses in its brief three-year history. Those were the largest margins of defeat in club history.
Reno’s starting pitcher, Tom Layne, looked like he was on a path to a brilliant start as he easily retired a trio of Las Vegas hitters in the top of the first, thanks to a pair of routine ground balls and a strikeout. His fortunes took a big turn for the worse an inning later.
After his Aces took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, following a bunt single by Evan Frey, two walks and a Cody Ransom sacrifice fly, Layne got rocked. Seven straight 51s reached safely to open the second inning. The first five of those touched up Layne for hits. When all was said and done in the second, Las Vegas sent 12 hitters to the plate and hung seven runs, all earned, on Layne on seven hits. Eric Thames had a pair of hits in the frame and Adam Loewen ripped a run-scoring triple to highlight the rally.
Reno had loaded the bases with no outs in the first but 51s starting pitcher Rey Gonzalez persevered and gave up just the one run. His team’s outburst in the top of the second seemed to energize the right-hander. He set Reno down in order in the second and did enough to hold down the Reno offense while his club’s thrived.
While Gonzalez was far from stellar on the hill for Las Vegas (41-33), he did pick up the win by staying away from the big inning. He went six and two-thirds innings, giving up seven runs and 10 hits.
Las Vegas went right back to work in the third. Layne could not even get out an out in the third. Las Vegas’ Jason Lane and Kevin Howard started the inning with singles and Ryan Budde proceeded to draw a walk and load the bases.
Las Vegas leadoff hitter Manny Mayorson then crushed a grand slam. The long ball ended Layne’s day while it gave the 51s an 11-0 advantage and the route was on.
Reno’s Brandon Allen mashed a long solo homer to right field in the bottom of the third to make it 11-2 but that was one of the few Aces highlights in the rare afternoon affair. It marked Allen’s third straight game with a home run, the third time he has done that in an Aces uniform.
As if its double-digit run total wasn’t enough, Las Vegas kept pouring it on. The 51s tacked on their final five runs in the top of inning four. David Cooper walloped a three-run home run to key that rally.
That’s when Reno finally got some relief. After giving up the 16 runs and 18 hits through the first four innings, the Aces shut out Las Vegas the rest of the way and allowed only one hit to the 51s in the last five innings.
The first four innings of the PCL tilt took nearly two hours but the last five were finished in about an hour.
Reno (43-31) got a run in the fifth when Lucas May doubled and scored. The Aces put up a four spot in the seventh when Tony Abreu and Sean Burroughs both collected two-run doubles. Abreu’s knock extended his hit streak to 14 games. In the ninth, Allen tripled and scored but those runs went all for naught after the 51s early explosion.
The loss snapped a modest three-game winning streak for the Aces. The two teams meet again tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Aces Ballpark.