Reno starter Cesar Valdez tossed eight shutout innings in a dominant 4-0 win for the Aces over the Salt Lake Bees Friday night in the series opener at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Valdez (3-4) allowed just two hits, walked just one and struck out six while holding the Bees scoreless, earning his second-straight victory. Jason Urquidez came on in relief of Valdez to finish things up with a spotless ninth inning.
The scoreless effort was the third pitched this season by the Aces staff. Reno has now won seven of its last nine games.
In the third inning, the Aces benefited from three-straight hits to put two runs on the scoreboard. Brandon Watson and Ruben Gotay hit consecutive one-out singles, before Alex Romero blasted a double to right that cleared the bases and gave Reno a 2-0 advantage. That pushed Romero’s hitting streak to 10 games and marked his sixth-straight game with a double.
Reno would tack on two more insurance runs in the eighth. Gotay hit a run-scoring single to left, then Romero induced a bases-loaded walk to force home another run.
Bees starter David Austen (1-2) lasted six innings, allowing two runs on five hits while taking the loss. Kevin Jepsen, who attended Reno’s Bishop Manogue High School, allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and one strikeout in one inning of work out of the Salt Lake bullpen.
The series continues on Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled at Spring Mobile Ballpark. The Aces and Bees will hook-up in two seven-inning games. In the opener, Reno will send RHP Bryan Augenstein (0-0, 6.00 ERA) to the hill, while Salt Lake is set to counter with RHP Dan Denham (3-1, 4.02 ERA). Game two will pit Reno’s LHP Travis Blackley (1-3, 5.82 ERA) versus Salt Lake’s RHP Brad Salmon (1-0, 5.49) First pitch for game one is set for 4:05 p.m. PT. All the action can be heard on Fox Sports 1450 AM.
The Aces return home on June 11 for a four-game set with Salt Lake and a three-game series with intrastate rival Las Vegas. June 11 will be a Coors Light Thursday night, with $2 Coors Lights until the fifth inning.