In a late Saturday afternoon twilight start, the Fresno Grizzlies' bats exploded for 18 hits on the Reno Aces pitching staff, falling a run short of the most runs ever scored by Fresno against Reno. In the 15-8 victory, every Grizzlies' batter picked up a hit and scored a run; six batters registered multiple hits, and five scored two runs. Fresno pounded out 18 hits total, including two homers, to secure their first win of the season.
Tony Kemp led the game with a walk and stole Fresno's first base of the season, before advancing to third on a throwing error. He scored on a Tyler White (3-for-5, 2 RBI) RBI groundout to short, giving the Grizzlies their first lead of 2018.
A big third stretched the Grizz lead to 4-0. Kemp led off with another walk, and Drew Ferguson walked as well. Both scored on RBI singles by Kyle Tucker and White. Tucker later scored on an A.J. Reed (2-for-3, 2 RBI) sac fly.
Reno starter Kris Medlen (0-1) was saddled with the loss, allowing four (earned) runs in his three innings, with three walks and three strikeouts. Right-hander Andrew Thome (1-0) picked up the win in relief for Fresno, tossing 1.1 innings allowing an (earned) run on one hit and a walk, with one strikeout.
Leading 4-2 in the fourth, Jon Kemmer (2-for-5, 2 RBI) lined his first home run of 2018 (his 35th in three seasons with the Grizzlies) over the right field wall. Reno quickly took one back in the home half, on a Socrates Brito (5-for-5) RBI single up the middle.
Up 5-3 in the fifth, the Grizzlies loaded the bases with White (single), Reed (walk) and Garrett Stubbs (single, 2-for-5), setting the table for a Jack Mayfield (3-for-4, 5 RBI) grand slam, a towering shot to left-center for a 9-3 lead. For Mayfield, it's his third consecutive season with a grand slam, all of which came in road games.
Mayfield homered twice with a slam on July 15, 2017 at Midland in the Double-A Texas League, while playing for Corpus Christi. Saturday was his second grand slam with Fresno; his bases-loaded homer on June 15, 2016 stood up as the game-winning hit in a 4-3 win.
An Anthony Recker (2-for-4) RBI double for Reno made the score 9-4 in the fifth. In the sixth things tightened up further, thanks to a Marcus Littlewood (2-for-3) two-run double for a 9-6 ballgame. Alejandro Garcia (3-for-5) made it 10-6 in the eighth, leading the inning with a single before eventually scoring on a wild pitch. The back and forth continued in the home half of the eighth with a Daniel Robertson RBI single and another Recker run-scoring double, and it was a 10-8 game.
Fresno blew the game open and sealed it in the ninth, sending nine batters to the plate, scoring five times on six hits. An RBI double by Reed, a sac fly by Mayfield and RBI singles by Kemmer and Garcia were the run-scoring blows. Garcia scored on a wild pitch for a consecutive inning, and it was 15-8, which would hold as the final.
Brendan McCurry did pick up a save, as he entered with two out in the eighth with the tying run at the plate while the score was 10-8. He then retired the side in order in the ninth, ending the near-four hour game (3:58) with a strikeout.
Game four of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. at Greater Nevada Field. Probable starting pitchers are RHP Rogelio Armenteros for Fresno, and RHP Jake Buchanan for Reno, a former Grizz from Fresno's 2015 National Championship squad.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.