Aces Within One Game of First Place

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RENO, Nev. —Ronny Cedeño put together another big night at the plate Thursday, driving in two runs and scoring two more, as the Reno Aces defeated the Sacramento River Cats at home to climb within one game of first place.

The lower half of the batting order sparked the Aces’ offense in the first game of the series, with Zach Borenstein scoring twice and Blake Lalli driving in two to complement Cedeño’s three-hit night.

The River Cats and Aces traded runs in the third inning. Nick Buss picked up an RBI double for Sacramento, his first of three RBIs on the night. Xavier Paul, acquired as a free agent earlier in the day, tied the score at one with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third.

Sacramento sent ten men to the plate to recapture the lead in the fourth and chase Aces starter Charles Brewer from the ballgame. Nick Buss and Andy Parrino both collected two-run singles in the rally.

Reno began to chip away at the deficit with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Borenstein, Cedeño, Lalli and Argenis Diaz started the inning with four straight hits off River Cats starter Zach Neal (5-6). One inning later, the Aces sent all nine men to the plate as part of a four-run inning, highlighted by Cedeño’s go-ahead two-run double.

Brewer lasted 3 2/3 innings, striking out five but giving up five runs (all earned) on seven hits and leaving with a four-run deficit. Reno’s bullpen threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings, with Mark Serrano (5-0) picking up the win with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Jake Barrett turned in a scoreless ninth for his tenth save in an Aces uniform.

After being staked to a 5-1 lead after 3 ½ innings, Neal failed to escape the fifth inning. He gave up seven runs (all earned) on twelve hits for his shortest outing since July 8.

The second game of the five-game series is set for Friday at Aces Ballpark. Reno can climb into a first-place tie for the first time since June 9 with a win, while Sacramento looks to re-establish their two-game division lead. Right-hander Lucas Harrell (5-2, 5.46 ERA) starts for the Aces against River Cats lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 3.41). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.