The Reno Aces have gone on the road and can’t find home.
The Aces bats continued to struggle Monday night in a 4-2 loss to the Fresno Grizzlies in front of a crowd of 3,663 at Fresno’s Chukchansi Park. The Aces have now lost five games in a row and have scored just four runs in their last four games combined. Fresno leads the Pacific Northern Division of the Pacific Coast League at 11-7. The Aces are in third place at 8-11.
The loss on Monday hands the Aces its first series loss of the season. The Aces had split their previous four four-game series of the season.
A pair of former Florida college stars stole the show on Monday.
Peter O’Brien, who played for the Miami Hurricanes, drilled his seventh home run of the season for the Aces and had three hits to lift his average to .397. O’Brien is third in the PCL in hitting, second in home runs and fourth in RBI with 19. He also leads the league in total bases (57) and is tied for first with 29 hits.
O’Brien’s lead-off homer cut Fresno’s lead to 4-2 in the sixth.
Unfortunately for the Aces, however, the Grizzlies’ Preston Tucker matched O’Brien on Monday. Tucker, who played for the Florida Gators, hit his PCL-leading eighth home run and also had three hits. Tucker’s 26 RBI lead the league and his 51 total bases are tied for third.
Tucker’s one-out homer gave the Grizzlies a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning.
The Grizzlies, the Triple-A franchise of the Houston Astros, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI single by Tucker. The Aces, though, tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth as Jamie Romak and Blake Lalli had one-out singles and Zach Borenstein followed with a RBI single.
Max Stassi, the brother of former University of Nevada Wolf Pack player Brock Stassi, gave the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead with a RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. Nolan Fontana’s sacrifice fly, scoring Andrew Alpin, gave the Grizzlies a 3-1 later in the fourth.
Aces starter Blake Beavan lasted five innings and allowed seven hits, two walks and four runs in suffering the loss (0-1). Beavan, who had a 16-20 record and 4.61 earned run average with the Seattle Mariners from 2011-14, now has a 6.23 ERA this season in two starts for the Aces. Jake Buchanan went five innings for Fresno and allowed nine hits and two runs to earn the victory (2-0). Kevin Chapman got the final five outs for his first save of the year.
The Aces left nine runners on base and were just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The Aces loaded the bases in the eighth inning with two outs on a single by O’Brien and walks to Nick Evans and Cody Ransom but Chapman fanned Danny Worth to end the inning.
The Aces outhit the Grizzlies 10-7. Evans had a double while Borenstein had a pair of singles.
The Aces and Grizzlies will conclude their series Tuesday morning at 11:05 a.m. The Aces will then head to Las Vegas for a four-game series with the 51s starting on Thursday before returning to Aces Ballpark on Monday to open a four-game series with Sacramento.