Reno, NV - Kila Ka'ahuie's second home run of the day was a two-run walk-off shot that gave the Reno Aces (13-25) and 9-8 win over the Iowa Cubs (13-21) at Aces Ballpark this afternoon. The Cubs never trailed until Ka'aihue's second blast sailed over the wall off closer Blake Parker. This series is even at a game apiece.
The Cubs grabbed the early lead when Brad Nelson belted a solo home run in the top of the second off Aces' starter Randall Delgado. The Aces tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer by Alfredo Marte.
The Cubs answered back with four runs in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Dave Sappelt tripled to the gap in deep right-center and scored on a groundout by Nelson to extend the Cubs' lead to 5-1. The Cubs added another run in the fifth to make it 6-1 when Brett Jackson reached on an infield single, his third hit of the day, and scored from first on a double to deep center by Brian Bogusevic.
The Aces came back against Cubs' starter Chris Rusin in the bottom of the fifth. With two on and one out, former Cub Brad Snyder pulled a pinch-hit double down the first base line for an RBI. Evan Frey and Chris Owings followed with RBI singles that cut the Cubs' lead to 6-4.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Marte led off with a double and scored on a base hit by Juan Rivera to pull the Aces to within one and chase Rusin from the game. Casey Coleman came in, caught a bunt popped up in foul territory by Taylor Harbin and induced a double play ball to end the inning, preserving the one-run lead. Coleman also pitched a perfect seventh and struck out one.
In the top of the eighth, the Cubs added two insurance runs. Nelson singled, went to third on a double by Luis Flores, and both runners scored on a pinch-hit triple by Ian Stewart that hit off the top of the wall in deep right-center, just missing a home run by a couple of feet.
Ka'aihue led off the top of the eighth with a homer off Hisanori Takahashi to get the Aces back to within two at 8-6. After a strikeout and a walk, Rafael Dolis replaced Takahashi and retired the next two batters to end the inning. Dolis came back out to start the ninth and walked Ed Easley to open the inning. After a strikeout, Dolis threw a wild pitch that moved Easley to second and got a visit on the mound from Athletic Trainer Nick Frangella and Manager Marty Pevey after bending over and looking uncomfortable behind the mound. Dolis stayed in the game and allowed an RBI single to Evan Frey that pulled the Aces to within one at 8-7.
After the hit, Pevey turned to Parker, who was a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities on the year. Frey stole second before Owings flew out to left to set up the final match-up. Ka'aihue hit a 2-1 pitch to nearly the same spot as his first home run to win the game. It was Ka'aihue's ninth career home run against Iowa. Parker (0-1) is charged a blown save and the loss. Matt Gorgen (1-0) was the final of five pitchers in the game for the Aces and is credited with the win.
The Cubs and Aces continue this series tomorrow night at 8:35 p.m. Central time. RH Nick Struck (0-3, 6.85) will start for the Cubs against RH Zeke Spruill (1-0, 1.42) for the Aces. The game will be broadcast live on AM 940 and streamed at iowacubs.com with the pre-game show starting at 8:15.