FRESNO, Calif. " Luke Carlin smashed a two-run home run in the seventh inning, but an early deficit was too much to recover from for Reno on Saturday night, as the Fresno Grizzlies topped the Aces 9-2 in the series opener at Chukchansi Park.
The Grizzlies jumped on top early and never looked back, scoring twice in the first and pushing across two more in the second. A three-run fifth inning put Fresno in the driver's seat for good. The Aces used Carlin's two-run drive in the seventh to pull to within five, but Fresno answered with two runs of its own in the home half of the inning to quell Reno's late-inning comeback efforts.
Aces starter Tony Barnette (0-2) was saddled with the loss, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits over five innings pitched. Barnette walked one and struck out four. Out of the Reno bullpen, Josh Ellis allowed two runs on three hits over 1.2 innings pitched and Leo Rosales worked a scoreless 1.1 innings.
The win went to Grizzlies starter Kevin Pucetas, who scattered five hits over 6.2 innings pitched. The lone blemish on Pucetas' line was Carlin's two-run homer. He walked one and struck out four. Three Fresno relievers combined to hold the Reno offense silent over the final 2.1 frames.
At the plate for Reno, three Aces were responsible for all six hits on the evening. Carlin singled in addition to his home run, while Agustin Murillo doubled and singled, and Brandon Watson chipped in a pair of hits.
The series continues today afternoon at Chukchansi Park. Reno sends Seth Etherton (1-1, 3.94 ERA) to the mound, while the Grizzlies will send Steve Hammond (1-1, 4.11 ERA). First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. and can be heard live on Fox Sports Radio 1450 AM.
Reno will return to Aces Ballpark on April 30 to kick-off a four-game homestand against the Portland Beavers, Triple-A Affiliate of the San Diego Padres.