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Dodgers Fly to 12-5 Win Against Aviators in Series Opener

September 24, 2021

OKC Dodgers — 12 Las Vegas Aviators — 5 Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 – Las Vegas Ballpark — Las Vegas, Nev. Game Summary: The Oklahoma City Dodgers scored seven runs in the third inning and later hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning on the way to a 12-5 road

OKC Dodgers — 12

Las Vegas Aviators — 5

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 – Las Vegas Ballpark — Las Vegas, Nev.

Game Summary: The Oklahoma City Dodgers scored seven runs in the third inning and later hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning on the way to a 12-5 road win against the Las Vegas Aviators Thursday night at Las Vegas Ballpark as the teams opened the Triple-A Final Stretch. Drew Avans’ RBI double began the scoring for the Dodgers in the third inning and Sheldon Neuse followed with a RBI single. Steven Souza Jr. later added a RBI single before Zach Reks belted a three-run homer out to right-center field. A sacrifice fly by Tony Wolters scored Andy Burns, who had tripled, for a 7-0 advantage. Zach McKinstry’s RBI double in the sixth inning boosted OKC’s lead to 8-0. Once Dodgers starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson exited the game, the Aviators broke through the shutout with back-to-back homers in the sixth inning, including an inside-the-park homer. The Dodgers (62-58) went on to add back-to-back homers of their own in the eighth inning when McKinstry hit a three-run shot before Matt Davidson followed with his team-leading 27th homer of the season for a 12-4 lead. Las Vegas (62-59) added a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Dodgers went on to take a 1-0 lead in the five-game series as they secured back-to-back wins for the first time since Sept. 13-14 in Salt Lake.

Of Note:

-The 12 total runs scored by the Dodgers marked the team’s highest run total in eight games and tied their high-mark for the month of September, as it was the fourth time this month OKC has scored 12 runs in a game. The Dodgers’ 16 hits Thursday made for their largest single-game hit total since compiling 19 hits Sept. 13 in Salt Lake (a span of eight games). Five Dodgers finished with multi-hit nights, led by Zach Reks’ four hits and Drew Avans’ three hits…Eight of OKC’s hits went for extra bases for their most extra-base hits in a game since compiling 10 extra-base hits Aug. 8 in Albuquerque.

-The seven runs scored by the Dodgers in the third inning Thursday were the most runs scored by the team in an inning since also scoring seven runs in the fourth inning of an 8-7 home win against Albuquerque Sept. 7 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. It was the sixth time in the month of September the Dodgers scored five or more runs in a single inning.

-Dodgers starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson (7-5) pitched 5.0 scoreless innings Thursday, allowing five hits and one walk and with six strikeouts. Thursday marked his fifth outing of the season with five or more scoreless innings pitched as he picked up his first win on the mound since July 23. Wilkerson entered the game with the best ERA in Triple-A West (4.32).

-Zach Reks finished the night 4-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and two RBI. Thursday was his second four-hit game of the season and first since May 30 in El Paso. Reks leads the Dodgers with 24 doubles and 67 runs scored this season. The homer was his first with OKC since Sept. 6 and just his second with the team since Aug. 19 after he hit 16 homers through his first 59 games of the season with OKC.

-Zach McKinstry set a new season high with four RBI Thursday, going 2-for-5 with a double and homer. It was his first four-RBI outing since the 2019 season with Oklahoma City Aug. 18, 2019 in Round Rock. He has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, going 10-for-35 with three doubles, four homers, eight RBI and eight runs scored.

-Luis Barrera’s inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning for Las Vegas was the fourth inside-the-park homer allowed by the Dodgers this season. Barrera hit a fly ball to the protruding wall near the pool situated in right-center field. OKC outfielder Zach Reks ran into the wall while trying to field the ball, which then ricocheted deeper into right field allowing Barrera to complete a trip around the bases. He joins Albuquerque’s Danny Edgeworth (May 24), Round Rock’s Carl Chester (June 21) and El Paso’s Taylor Kohlwey (July 11) as opponents who have hit inside-the-park homers against the Dodgers this season. Prior to Edgeworth’s homer in May, the last inside-the-park home run hit against OKC was Aug. 3, 2018 by Andrew Aplin in Tacoma.

-The Dodgers opened the Triple-A Final Stretch Thursday in Las Vegas. All 30 Triple-A teams are playing five road and five home games during the new postseason tournament format. A single 2021 Triple-A Final Stretch winner will then be crowned based on the highest overall winning percentage among all 30 teams during the final 10 games.

-The Dodgers hit three home runs Thursday night, benefitting Cleats For Kids in Oklahoma City as part of “Homers That Help.” For each home run hit by Triple-A teams during the Final Stretch, Minor League Baseball will donate $50 per homer to a local 501(c)3 charity selected by the team. The team with the most home runs hit during the 10-game span will generate an extra $5,000 donation for its charity of choice. The OKC Dodgers chose to benefit Cleats for Kids (C4K), which provides new and used sports equipment free of charge to youth in need, gathering equipment through community drives and drop-off donation sites.

What’s Next: The Dodgers continue their road series and the Triple-A Final Stretch with a 9:05 p.m. CT game Friday against the Las Vegas Aviators at Las Vegas Ballpark. Live radio coverage of each OKC Dodgers game begins 15 minutes before first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," and through the free iHeartRadio or MiLB First Pitch apps. All OKC Dodgers games are also available streamed live on MiLB.TV with a subscription.