SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Nick Ahmed delivered a two-out, run-scoring base hit in the top of the tenth inning to give the Aces a 2-1 win over the Sacramento River Cats, sending Reno to the Pacific Coast League Playoffs.
Mike Freeman, who doubled to start the tenth, scored the winning run to give the Aces their third Pacific Northern Division title in franchise history.
The Aces got on the board first in the fifth with a two-out rally. Roger Kieschnick rifled a double down the right-field line and scored when Blake Lalli sent a line-drive base hit to left-field to give Reno a 1-0 lead.
Aces starter Charles Brewer threw six shutout innings, continuing this dominant finish to the regular season. Over his last five starts, Brewer has pitched 33 innings and has only allowed six earned runs (1.64 ERA) while racking up 31 strikeouts.
Brewer and Sacramento starter Arnold Leon matched zeroes through the first four innings without much resistance. Sacramento’s Ryan Ortiz doubled in the third but was left stranded. They put two runners on to start the bottom of the fourth inning but Brewer struck out Jose Martinez and Shane Peterson before getting Colin Walsh on a fly out to left-field.
Sacramento finally broke through in the seventh with help from Reno’s defense. Shane Peterson started the inning with a double to the wall in right-field. The ball was bobbled by right-fielder Brett Jackson, allowing Peterson to third. Chris Owings’ relay throw to third was wide of the bag, allowing Peterson to score the tying run.
The score remained 1-1 as Joe Paterson and Kevin Munson kept the River Cats off the scoreboard in the eighth and ninth innings. Sacramento had runners at first and second with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Munson got Ryan Ortiz to bounce into a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat.
Freeman entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the tenth inning and lined a 0-2 pitch from Jeremy McBryde down the right-field line. The right-hander came back to strike out Kieschnick and retired Lalli for the second out of the inning on a fly out to left-field.
McBryde jumped out in front of Ahmed before the Aces’ shortstop lined the game-winner up the middle on a 0-2 pitch.
Closer Jake Barrett entered the game in the bottom of the tenth and issued a lead-off walk to Zeke DeVoss. He struck out Nick Buss for the first out of the inning before issuing another walk to Alden Carrithers. On a 1-0 pitch, Barrett got Daric Barton to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to seal the win for the Aces.
The Aces will play the Las Vegas 51s in the opening round of the PCL Playoffs. Games one and two will be played at Cashman Field, beginning Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. in Las Vegas. Game three is scheduled for Friday, September 5 at Aces Ballpark at 7:05 p.m. Games four and five, if necessary, will also be played at Aces Ballpark.
Tickets for all potential playoff games at Aces Ballpark are on sale now. For tickets, visit RenoAces.com or call (775) 334-7000. For up-to-date news and notes throughout the offseason, visit www.RenoAces.com, follow the club on Twitter (@aces) or like the team on Facebook.