Andrew Chafin was well aware his team could use a win Thursday, but that's how he approaches every start.
"You have to treat it like every other game," the D-backs lefty prospect said. "You have to go into every game thinking you have to give your team the opportunity to win, and do everything you can to give them the best chance."
Chafin went the distance in the Triple-A Reno Aces' 6-0 shutout of the 51s at Las Vegas, which tied their best-of-5 Pacific Coast League semifinals at a game apiece. The 24-year-old allowed four hits and struck out five without walking a batter.
"I feel like the biggest thing tonight was getting ahead in the count consistently, then we were able to go to offspeed stuff and we able to get bad swings on ball pitches," Chafin said. "We got double plays when we needed them."
The Aces turned three double plays, erasing all but one of the hits Chafin surrendered. He was also well supported by the Reno offense -- Mike Jacobs hit a grand slam in a five-run first inning.
"We had the momentum in our favor at that point, but I try to treat every pitch in every inning like it's 0-0, a tight game," the Kent State product said. "You can't think you're pitching with a lead. I mean, you can do little things, be a little more aggressive with at-bats. We had the mentality that we were going to beat them into the ground tonight, and fortunately we did, as a team."
Chafin, who threw 67 of 99 pitches for strikes, ran into his trouble for the first time in the ninth. He gave up a leadoff single to Anthony Seratelli and then hit Allan Dykstra with a pitch. But a groundout and two strikeouts later, the game was over.
"I could tell I was tired, and I was fighting that and trying to get the hitters out at the same time," he said. "It was a little more intense in that inning, but I stepped off and took a breath and kept going."
Nick Ahmed, the D-backs' No. 9 prospect, went 3-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored. Chafin contributed two hits himself.
"I got lucky," he said. "I'm not a hitter. I try to put the ball in play and hope they screw up at some point."
The series moves to Reno on Friday, and Game 3 begins at 10:05 p.m. ET.
In other Pacific Coast League action:
Memphis 4, Omaha 3
Fifteenth-ranked Cardinals prospect Zach Petrick allowed two unearned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four to earn the win as the Redbirds evened the semifinal series. Scott Moore hit a two-run homer. Omaha's Whit Merrifield went yard and has two homers in as many playoff games, while Paulo Orlando was 3-for-5 with a double. Gameday box score »
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.