RENO – Nick Ahmed had quite the day at Aces Ballpark. The Aces’ shortstop was presented with his 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove award in a pre-game ceremony, then proceeded to hit a walk-off double to give Reno a 9-8 win over Fresno in a back-and-forth game Wednesday afternoon.
It looked like it was going to be smooth sailing for the Aces as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings. Starter Andrew Chafin helped himself in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single up the middle to give Reno the five-run cushion.
Fresno got to Chafin in the fifth when his counterpart Edwin Escobar lined a double to right, scoring Darren Ford to make it 5-1. Chafin retired Gary Brown on a fly out for the second out in the inning but then hit Nick Noonan.
It looked like the left-hander was going to escape further damage when Juan Perez hit a pop up to shallow right. Tyler Bortnick had the ball glance off of his glove, allowing Escobar to score and Noonan to third. Fresno made the error hurt, collecting three straight hits after the miscue, knocking Chafin from the game.
Derek Eitel relieved him in a 5-5 game and allowed an RBI single to Chris Dominguez to give the Grizzlies the lead. In the seventh, Dominguez plated two more runs with a two-out base hit to center.
The rally started in the eighth when Mike Jacobs led off the frame with a line drive to right. After Andy Marte bounced out, Roger Kieschnick drew a walk and pinch-hitter Danny Dorn was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bobby Wilson trimmed the lead to 8-6 with an RBI single to left and DiDi Gregorius followed with a run-scoring groundout to make it a one-run game.
Ahmed started the bottom of the ninth with a walk. He moved to second on passed ball and scored a batter later when Jacobs rifled a base-hit to right to tie the game at 8-8.
In the bottom of the tenth, Wilson led off with his third hit of the game, a smash to left. Tuesday’s starting pitcher, Lucas Harrell, entered the game as a pinch-runner for Wilson. After a failed sacrifice attempt and a fly-out, Ahmed stepped to the plate with two outs and hit a liner over the head of center fielder Gary Brown. Harrell raced around from first and scored standing up.
At 31-22, the Aces have tied the best start in franchise history, equaling the start of the 2011 season.
Game three of the four-game set is Thursday in downtown Reno. The Aces send right-hander Bo Schultz (2-4, 5.84) to the mound against Grizzlies right-hander Jason Berken (7-2, 3.99). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.