RENO, Nev.—Cole Gillespie hit a franchise-record three home runs and drove in a club-record-tying eight runs Friday night, lifting the Reno Aces to an 11-3 victory over the Fresno Grizzlies in front of a sellout crowd at Aces Ballpark.
Gillespie hit a grand slam in the first inning, a three-run homer in the second, then a solo shot in the seventh. He becomes the first Aces batter in club history and the fourth Pacific Coast League hitter this season to hit three homers in a game. Gillespie’s eight runs driven-in matched the franchise record, previously set by Jeff Bailey on June 6, 2010.
The Aces scored 10 runs over the game’s first three innings, and the lead was never seriously threatened, as Reno earned a 2-1 series victory. The 9,420 fans in attendance marked the third-largest crowd in Aces Ballpark history.
Reno starter Zach Kroenke (5-1) earned the victory, scattering two runs on nine hits over five innings of work. Chris Jakubauskas, Mike DeMark and Taylor Sinclair combined to hold the Grizzlies to just one run over the game’s final four frames.
The loss fell to Grizzlies starter Andrew Kown (4-2), who surrendered nine runs before being lifted with two outs in the second inning.
Aside from Gillespie’s exploits at the plate, Ryan Wheeler collected two hits, becoming the Aces’ all-time single-month hit leader and just the 11th Minor League batter since 2005 to record 50 hits in a month.
The Aces now welcome the Las Vegas 51s into Aces Ballpark, resuming the Silver State Diamond Challenge. In Saturday’s opener, RHP Joe Martinez (7-4, 5.10) gets the nod for Reno, while RHP Andrew Carpenter (5-3, 3.62 ERA) counters for the 51s. Saturday’s game will feature the Garden Gnome Giveaway presented by KOLO 8 News Now.