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Reno pounds out 14 hits, rolls to 11-5 victory over Aviators  

Aces tally six runs in the first inning, snap five-game losing skid and even six-game series with Las Vegas
Aviators shortstop Pete Kozma singled in his first at-bat Friday for his 100th hit of the season and 1,000th hit of his minor-league career. Kozma, who has played 1,200 minor-league games, finished 2-for-3 and is now riding a seven-game hitting streak. (Steve Spatafore | Las Vegas Aviators)
September 11, 2021

By the time the Aviators took the field Friday night at Las Vegas Ballpark, a monsoon that drenched much of Southern Nevada had blown out of town. It didn’t take long, though, for the thunder to return in the form of the Reno Aces’ bats. One night after mustering just

By the time the Aviators took the field Friday night at Las Vegas Ballpark, a monsoon that drenched much of Southern Nevada had blown out of town. It didn’t take long, though, for the thunder to return in the form of the Reno Aces’ bats.

One night after mustering just three runs against four Aviators pitchers, Reno matched that total three batters into the game, tacked on another trio of runs before Las Vegas came up to bat and cruised to an 11-5 victory before a sellout crowd of 9,519.

Third baseman Drew Ellis and second baseman Ildemaro Vargas each belted two-run homers and accounted for four of their team’s 14 hits as the Aces (62-46) halted a five-game losing skid. Meanwhile, Las Vegas (59-51) has now followed a 15-3 hot streak by losing four of its last five, and once again trails second-place Reno by four games and first-place Tacoma by six games in the Western Division of Triple-A West.

This one was over not long after it started, as the Aces sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored six times against Aviators starting pitcher Parker Dunshee. It took just seven batters for Reno to hit for the cycle, with six of those batters reaching safely on two singles, Ellis’ booming homer that sailed over the video board in left-center field, a double, an error and a triple.

The inning — and perhaps the entire game — would have played out a lot differently had the first two Reno batters not reached safely on a double and RBI single after Las Vegas third baseman Vimael Machín and center fielder Luis Barrera each lost routine flyballs in the twilight sky.

Reno would go on to plate runs in three of the first four innings, during which they tallied 10 hits (including seven for extra bases) on the way to an 8-1 lead. The first seven hitters in the Aces’ lineup accounted all of those hits, going 10-for-18 with seven RBI. In fact, Reno had more hits through four innings than Las Vegas (nine) had in the entire game.

The only bright spots for the Aviators on an otherwise frustrating night? Right fielder/leadoff hitter Mickey McDonald went 3-for-4 and drove in the team’s first two runs with RBI singles in the third and seventh innings; shortstop Pete Kozma picked up his 1,000th career minor-league hit (in his 1,200th career game); and Nate Mondou pinch-hit for Kozma in the bottom of the seventh and crushed a three-run homer that capped Las Vegas’ scoring.

GAME NOTES: Kozma finished 2-for-3 and now has a six-game hitting streak (8-for-25). It’s his sixth hitting streak of five games or more this season. … The first four hitters and six of the first seven in the Aces’ lineup had two hits apiece. … Prior to Friday, Las Vegas pitchers had surrendered three runs or fewer in five straight games and seven of the previous eight. … Dunshee, who was making just his second start since May after returning from surgery on his right (pitching) shoulder, was charged with seven runs (five earned) on nine hits in three innings. He walked none, struck out one and threw 36 of 55 pitches for strikes. … Of the four relief pitchers who followed Dunshee, only Zack Erwin didn’t give up a run. The southpaw struck out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect eighth inning. … The sellout was the fourth of the season at Las Vegas Ballpark. … Earlier on Friday, the Oakland A’s activated outfielder (and former Aviator) Seth Brown from the injured list and optioned catcher Austin Allen to Las Vegas. In 71 games with the Aviators, Allen is batting .321 with 20 homers (third on the team) and 53 RBI. … Reno now leads the season series 12-8 (5-3 at Las Vegas Ballpark)

ON DECK: Brady Feigl, who was promoted to Las Vegas from Double-A Midland (Texas) to on August 28, will make his third career Triple-A start (and first at Las Vegas Ballpark) when he opposes the Aces’ Matt Tabor (1-3, 11.76 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

Feigl was 7-7 with a 3.96 ERA and a 106-34 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20 starts for Midland. In his first two outings with Las Vegas, the right-hander held Oklahoma City and Sugar Land to four runs on eight hits and five walks while striking out eight in 9 1/3 innings (3.86 ERA).

The first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive an Aviators fleece vest, presented by America First Credit Union. To purchase tickets, visit the team’s ticketing page.

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