LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Aces claimed sole possession of first place in the Pacific Northern division Tuesday night with a 5-3 pitching-duel victory in game two against the Las Vegas 51s as Fresno fell to El Paso. Kristopher Negrón and Christian Walker highlighted the offense while each collected a multi-RBI game. Negrón finished going one-for-three with a huge two-RBI, game-leading double in the sixth inning. Walker knocked his 29th home run, his third in three games while collecting his Minor League Baseball leading 104th and 105th RBIs. Aces starter Jake Buchanan notched his fourth consecutive Aces win after six quality innings of four-hit, two-run ball with five strikeouts and no walks.
The Aces, who were just one-for-15 with runners in scoring position, missed big opportunities in the first and fourth innings after leadoff doubles. It wasn't until the fifth when the Aces broke through offensively, cracking a scoreless game with John Ryan Murphy's first Aces home run of the season to make it a 1-0 contest.
In the bottom half of the fifth, the 51s caught fire when they tacked on four-straight singles after Buchanan held them hitless through four frames, plating two runs to take the 2-1 advantage at the halfway point.
With some momentum, Reno found themselves back with runners in scoring position in the sixth inning after a leadoff walk to Jack Reinheimer and single by MLB rehabber Rey Fuentes. Following two fly outs by Walker and Socrates Brito, Negrón came up clutch with his lone hit of the night, a two-RBI double down the left field line to put the Aces up 3-2.
Walker extended Reno's advantage in the eighth inning with a two-run, opposite-field blast to bring the score to 5-2 with six outs to go. In the bottom half, Las Vegas tacked on a third run in way of home run by Gavin Cecchini off of Aces Silvino Bracho. Bracho allowed two walks and a single following the home run to load the bases with two outs, but a change to Jimmie Sherfy led to a groundout to second base to minimize the damage.
In the ninth, Sherfy was able to complete the close despite allowing two singles and notch his 17th save of the season in the three hours and twenty-two-minute battle. Right-hander Louis Coleman pitched one hitless frame after Buchanan's exit.
The win brings the Aces to a record of 67-49 on the season with 26 regular season games to go. Reno continues the four-game series with Las Vegas 51s in game three tomorrow scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field. Follow the club all season long on Twitter (@Aces) or like the team on Facebook.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.