The Reno Aces erased a 5-0 deficit with three runs in the eighth, and three runs in the ninth to walk-off the Albuquerque Isotopes in a dramatic 6-5 win Monday night at Aces Ballpark.
Trailing 5-3 into the bottom of the ninth, Brandon Drury started the rally with a one-out double off of closer Jairo Diaz. Garrett Weber followed with a walk to put the tying run on base. Diaz came back to strikeout Nick Buss for the second out, but then walked Nick Evans to load the bases.
Jamie Romak laced the first pitch he saw from Diaz into left-field, scoring Drury and Weber to knot the game at 5-5.
It didn’t take long for Mike Freeman to deliver the game-winner. With Evans at second and Romak at first, he lined a 0-1 pitch from Diaz into right-center. Evans scored easily from third with the winning run.
Albuquerque (44-52) built a 5-0 lead with the help of three home runs. Two of which left the ballpark, one didn’t.
The ‘Topes took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Kyle Parker cleared the right-field wall with a solo homer. They added a second run three batters later when Jeremy Barfield tripled high off the wall in left-center to score Angelys Nina who previously singled.
The lead swelled to 3-0 in the fifth on their second homer of the night — a solo blast from shortstop Trevor Story. Garcia retired Cristhian Adames for the second out of the inning, but couldn’t retire the side without further damage.
Parker singled to right-field for his second hit of the night to put a runner on for Roger Bernadina. He hit the first pitch he saw from Garcia off the wall in right-center. It caromed away from Buss and Freeman, allowing Bernadina to touch them all for an inside-the-park home run and a 5-0 lead.
Albuquerque starter Boone Whiting kept the Aces (45-51) off the scoreboard for much of the night. The right-hander put zeroes on the board for 6 2/3 innings. He yielded only five hits to go along with three walks and three strikeouts.
Reno finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth inning against reliever Ken Roberts. Buss started the rally with an infield single and moved to third when Evans followed with a sharp single to right. It set the stage for Jamie Romak who hit a three-run blast over the right-field wall to cut the deficit to 5-3.
The bullpen combination of Seth Simmons, Matt Reynolds and Kaleb Fleck shut down Albuquerque’s offense over the final four innings, setting the stage for a comeback.
Freeman was reinstated off the disabled list earlier in the day after a three-week stint on the shelf with a knee injury. He finished 2-for-5 with the game-winning hit and RBI. Romak was 3-for-5 with his 19th home run of the year and 5 RBI.
The Aces managed just three hits in the first five innings, and eight over the final four. Buss and Evans each collected two knocks to join Freeman and Romak with multi-hit games. Fleck earned the win in relief and Diaz was tagged with the loss.
Games three and four of the series is set for tonight and Thursday night at Aces Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.