RENO, Nev. – Sunday’s series finale between the Sacramento River Cats and the Reno Aces swung back-and-forth in the early innings and contained explosive offense, including a massive two-run shot in the 2023 debut from Isan Diaz, until a hailstorm called an end to the contest in the seventh inning
RENO, Nev. – Sunday’s series finale between the Sacramento River Cats and the Reno Aces swung back-and-forth in the early innings and contained explosive offense, including a massive two-run shot in the 2023 debut from Isan Diaz, until a hailstorm called an end to the contest in the seventh inning resulting in a 10-5 Aces victory.
Luis Matos helped put the River Cats (21-24) on the scoreboard first for the second straight day, doubling to left center on the second pitch of the game with the ball coming off the bat at 102 mph. Driving him home later in the frame was Matt Beaty, as he slapped a changeup the opposite way to left field for the early 1-0 advantage.
Ready to match were the Aces (28-17) as they pushed home the tying run after a leadoff broken bat single from Alek Thomas resulted in him later scoring on an RBI groundout. After Reno starter Slade Cecconi (2-3) retired the River Cats in order during the second, the Aces gave him their first lead of the day when they came to the plate when a throwing error allowed Jake Hager to cross the plate after reaching with a one-out triple.
One of the loudest pops thus far in the Sacramento season briefly put the River Cats in front once again during the away half of the third, as Isan Diaz blasted a first-pitch changeup from Cecconi 455 feet over the fence in right center, the longest homer by a River Cat this season. Scoring on the play was Matos, who had notched his fourth straight multi-hit game after he singled with one away.
As quickly as the lead had come it also left, with Reno stealing back the advantage on their own two-run homer in the bottom of the frame. Sacramento right-hander Tanner Andrews struck out the first two batters but then issued a free pass, which immediately stung when Ali Sanchez launched a two-strike, two-out home run for a 4-3 edge.
Before the River Cats could answer the Aces tagged on two more in the fourth, as a Jorge Barrosa leadoff triple scored on a subsequent Thomas sacrifice fly. Meanwhile, a Buddy Kennedy double later in the inning turned into a run courtesy an RBI single through the middle by Dominic Canzone.
The second Sacramento blast of the afternoon brought them back within a run during the top of the sixth, as a Diaz single set the stage for Beaty who deposited his fourth dinger of the season into the right field lawn seats, making the score 6-5.
Along with the Diaz bomb in the third, Sacramento has now crushed 20 home runs in just 18 games during the month of May, putting them on pace for 28 by the end of the month (15 in 27 games during April). Additionally, the River Cats have extended their consecutive game homer streak to seven games, a new season best and their longest since they left the yard in 11 straight to end the 2021 season (9/21-10/3/21).
However, the comeback fell just shy again as Reno added four more runs of insurance in the home half of the inning, with all four runs coming on two swings. Driving in the first pair was Kennedy, doubling to left while a two-out Tristan English dinger provided the others.
Starting the seventh the skies opened, and while the game was able to get through the first two batters of the inning, strong hail forced a temporary and ultimately permanent end to the game resulting in a 10-5 Reno win. This marked Sacramento’s fifth loss out of the six contests against the Aces, the second time this season they have dropped five of six (also: OKC, 4/25-4/30).
All seven River Cats hits came from the top four spots in the lineup, including multi-hit games for Matos, Diaz and Beaty. For Matos he has recorded at least a pair of hits in each of his last four games since going hitless in his debut, while Diaz homered in his first game of 2023 for Sacramento after taking eight games to hit his first dinger last season. Notching three of the team’s RBI was Beaty, who has seen the ball well during his past three games by going a combined 5-for-12 (.417) with two homers, five RBI and two runs scored.
Collecting the win for the Aces was Cecconi despite getting tagged for all five of the Sacramento runs, all of which were earned on seven hits with four strikeouts. Taking the loss for the River Cats was Tanner Andrews (1-1), credited with allowing four earned runs on four hits in two innings of work.
Sacramento will return to friendly confines next week against the top team in the Pacific Coast League, as the River Cats begin the first contest of a six-game set against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on May 23 at 6:45 p.m. from Sutter Health Park.