SALT LAKE CITY " Aces starter Tony Barnette was sharp in his Triple-A debut, striking out seven, but the Salt Lake Bees were too much on opening night at Spring Mobile Ballpark, defeating Reno 6-2 in the first game in Aces franchise history.
Salt Lake turned a slim 2-1 lead into a comfortable 5-1 margin after scoring three times in the sixth, and the Bees never looked back, earning the season-opening victory.
Barnette (0-1) took the loss for Reno. The right-hander surrendered two runs on five hits over 4.1 innings pitched. Barnette walked just one and struck out seven in a 79-pitch effort. The win went to Bees starter Anthony Ortega (1-0), who scattered a run on four hits in five innings of work. Ortega struck out two and didn't walk a batter.
Barnette cruised in the early going, striking out the side in the second and punching out six through the first three innings.
In the third, though, Barnette's first walk of the evening came back to haunt him. With two away in the frame, Barnette issued a free pass to Salt Lake's Freddy Sandoval. That extended the inning for Sean Rodriguez, who singled sharply and chased home Bradley Coon to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Reno fired back in the top half of the fifth. Back-to-back doubles to right by Agustin Murillo and Rusty Ryal resulted in the first Aces run, knotting the score at 1-1. The tie was short-lived, though. In the home half of the inning, Coon lined a 1-0 Barnette offering onto the berm in right field, a solo shot that put the lead back in the hands of Salt Lake.
In the sixth, Reno reliever Abe Woody failed to record an out, as Salt Lake strung together a double, a triple and back-to-back singles to open the frame. The Bees plated three runs and took a 5-1 lead. Both teams traded runs in the seventh, but Reno was never able to make a serious threat.
The series continues today afternoon at Spring Mobile Ballpark. Reno sends righty Seth Etherton to the bump, while Salt Lake counters with right-hander Matt Palmer. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. and can be heard on Fox Sports Radio 1450.