The Reno Aces fell one run short as the Tacoma Rainiers won by a 4-3 score in front of 7,060 fans on Sunday afternoon at Greater Nevada Field. A two-run homer by Dan Rohlfing in the ninth brought the Aces within one, but Reno couldn’t complete the five-game sweep, falling 3.5 games back of the Rainiers with eight to play.
Tacoma (76-59) mounted a 3-0 lead against Anthony Banda in the third inning. Two walks sandwiched a single, loading the bases with one away for Stefen Romero. Three of Banda’s first four pitches to Romero sailed past Rohlfing, with every wild pitch bringing home a run.
After Banda reloaded the bases, Adam Loewen took over and struck out both James Ramsey and Jesus Sucre to prevent further damage.
The Rainiers added the game-deciding run in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Tyler Smith.
Reno (73-63) struggled against right-hander Cody Martin from the outset, failing to score until the sixth. Ildemaro Vargas lined a single off Martin’s glove to start the frame. Following two pitching changes, Peter O’Brien smacked a pinch-hit RBI single into center, bringing Reno within three runs.
The Aces squandered a scoring chance in the eighth after putting two runners on with one out. In the final frame, Rohlfing’s one-out blast carried over the right-field fence to make it 4-3. Vargas then tallied his third hit of the game, but Sócrates Brito and Mitch Haniger both struck out against Andrew Kittredge who earned his fifth save in nail-biting fashion.
Martin (10-7) earned the win with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He scattered three hits and three walks with seven punchouts, his final three coming after a leadoff single in the fifth. Banda (4-4) took the loss after allowing three earned runs on three hits and a career-high-tying five walks.
The Aces begin an eight-game road trip with game one of a four-game set on Monday night at Sacramento. First pitch from Raley Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Matt Koch (3-2, 3.57) will toe the rubber for Reno, while the River Cats will send righty Chris Stratton (11-6, 4.27) to the mound.
Playoff tickets are on-sale now at www.renoaces.com or by calling (775) 334-4700.