SALT LAKE CITY – In the team’s first game in over 600 days, the Reno Aces survived a late rally from Salt Lake to beat the Bees 5-4 and move to 1-0. Domingo Leyba led the way with three RBIs on the night, with the Aces pitchers striking out 13.
SALT LAKE CITY – In the team’s first game in over 600 days, the Reno Aces survived a late rally from Salt Lake to beat the Bees 5-4 and move to 1-0. Domingo Leyba led the way with three RBIs on the night, with the Aces pitchers striking out 13. The RBI total for Leyba made him just the fifth-ever Ace to record three or more RBIs on Opening Day.
The action got started earlier than in any other Aces Opening Day, as Drew Ellis hit a bomb with one out in the first inning made it 1-0. The home run, coming in his first-ever Triple-A game, landed him the distinction of the earliest home run ever by an Ace on Opening Day. The previous best, set in 2010, came off the bat of Jeff Bailey with two outs in the first.
The deep shot marked his eighth game with a hit in his last nine appearances, dating back to 2019 with the Double-A Jackson Generals.
Then in the second, the Aces bats got right back to work – with Juniel Querecuto driving in a run on a one-out fielder’s choice for his first RBI of the season. Querecuto drove in 51 runs in 2019, in 102 games with Reno. The total was eighth-most on the team.
At that point, starter Corbin Martin settled in and started dealing. Through three innings, Martin had struck out six of the 11 batters he faced, giving up no hits and allowing just two walks. Martin’s eighth strikeout in the fifth inning gave him sole possession of the Aces record for most strikeouts on Opening Day. The previous high of seven had been reached twice, most recently by Archie Bradley in 2016.
The right-hander from Houston, Texas finished with one run on two hits in 4.2 innings pitched, alongside four walks and the eight strikeouts.
Martin’s lone run allowed came in the fifth, making it a one-run game. The Aces would answer right back in the top half of the sixth however.
In the top of the sixth, Seth Beer first-ever Triple-A double was driven deep and off the wall in right-center, setting the stage for Leyba to drive him in with his first homer of the year. In Reno for the 2019 season, Leyba smashed 19 homers.
Beer and Leyba were back at the forefront of the Reno scoring in the eighth, shooting a double down the third base line before Leyba drove him in again – this time with a double. Leyba’s double gave him his third RBI of the night, leading the team and putting the Reno lead at 5-2 after Sam Moll surrendered a run in the bottom of the seventh.
Beer’s double made him the first Ace ever to notch a pair of doubles on opening day, doing so in his first Triple-A game while also tying the Aces Opening Day record for hits in a game with three.
Yoan Lopez entered in the bottom of the ninth to close out the win, and did so despite a two-run homer from Luis Rengifo to make it a 5-4 ballgame.
In the end Lopez forced a ground ball to Leyba at short, who made the quick toss to second and ended the night.
The two teams will square off again tomorrow night at 5:35pm PT from Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City. Zack Bayrouty will call the game on Fox Sports 630 locally, with the audio stream also available at RenoAces.com.