Chihuahuas split series with Aces

The+Chihuahuas+traded+two+wins+and+two+losses+with+the+Reno+Aces.+Next%2C+the+Chihuahuas+will+take+on+Tacoma+on+Tuesday%2C+April+19.+

Angel Ulloa

The Chihuahuas traded two wins and two losses with the Reno Aces. Next, the Chihuahuas will take on Tacoma on Tuesday, April 19.

Adrian Broaddus and Juan Carlos Navarrete

 

Coming home after only winning one of five games on a road trip and experiencing two rain outs, the Chihuahuas split their first home series against the Reno Aces 2-2.

The series was a battle won by the superior slugger. On Friday, April 15, and Monday, April 18, the Chihuahuas out-hit the Aces 14 and 19, respectively. The Aces beat the home team in slugging on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17 with 16 and 11 hits, respectively. The team who out-hit the other ultimately won.

Next, the Chihuahuas will take on Tacoma on Tuesday, April 19.

Opening day rally

After an abysmal first inning, where they allowed three runs, the Chihuahuas rallied behind starting pitcher Daniel McCutchen and had a come-from-behind victory, defeating the Aces 10-3 on Friday, April 15. The home opener featured a sold-out crowd, where 9,635 fans witnessed the Chihuahuas snapping a four-game losing streak.

“Little scary start at the beginning, giving up three in the first, but McCutchen is a competitor, I knew he was going to go out there and try to make some adjustments,” manager Rod Barajas said. “He did a great job, not just on the mound, but also gets the base hit. He did a lot of great things today, well deserved to get that.’

Second day slumps

While the Chihuahuas hit well on Friday, April 15, it was the Aces who dominated the slugging board with 13 runs off of 16 hits. Reno took the 13-5 win over the home team.

The visiting team scored four times on five hits in the first inning, then another two runs in the second inning. The Aces led 11-1 at the top of the sixth inning and then the Chihuahuas attempted a comeback with four runs of their own. However, the run was not enough and the Aces ended up tallying two more runs at the top of the ninth to cap the 13-5 win.

Five unanswered was not enough for game three

For the third game in a row, the Aces scored three or more runs in the first inning—this game featured five runs at the top of the first. With strong pitching and gradual scoring, the Chihuahuas scored five unanswered points through six innings to tie the game. Despite the impressive comeback, the two relief pitchers for the Chihuahuas, Leonel Campos and Derek Eitel, ended up blowing the game for the home team as they allowed three go-ahead runs at the top of the ninth inning. The Chihuahuas could not get anything going offensively in the bottom of the ninth and fell to the Aces 8-5.

“I feel like early on, the defense let us down a bit,” Barajas said. “You have to make plays defensively, and if you don’t, you put yourself, your team, your pitcher, in a bad spot. When they give you outs, you have to take them. Right now I feel like we lack that.”

Split the series

The Chihuahuas got back in the swing of things as they took care of business on Monday, April 18. As they defeated the Aces 14-4. With the victory, the Chihuahuas improve to 5-6 on the season.

The home team gave 6,087 fans a real slug-fest in their victory over the Aces. The Chihuahuas made up for their poor performance from the previous two nights with 14 runs, 19 hits and no errors.

“No errors and no walks—we have been struggling with walking guys, giving free bases,” Barajas said. “Obviously the defense—giving these guys more opportunities to score runs. The fact that those two parts of the game were solid kept away the big innings.”

The Chihuahuas got on the board early in the game. They broke the lead open in the first when they went up 3-0. A home run by Austin Hedges gave the Chihuahuas the 4-2 lead early in the third.

Jemile Weeks was the Chihuahuas impact player of the game. He was one home run away from hitting a cycle and hit four of six in the game.

“I was reaching for it a little (home run in the eighth). I would’ve been okay with a hit or a walk, but I was a little more aggressive for this at-bat,” Weeks said.

Though he did not get the cycle, this game was enough to help make up for the woes that the Chihuahuas felt early in the year.

“It was a good team win. Everyone got their self-esteems’ boosted and that’s what you want to see,” Weeks said. “There might be something big for us going forward.”

Renfroe on fire

Through the four-game home stand, outfielder Hunter Renfroe was a key factor in the batting lineup and defensively. Through the first two games, Renfroe batted .600. He put up six doubles in three games—two Friday night, three Saturday night, and one Sunday afternoon.

“I’ve been seeing the ball well right now—seeing the ball well this whole season,” Renfroe said.

One of Renfroe’s top moments of the weekend was assisting with an out on Sunday, April 17, when he gunned down a runner going to third from right field.

Next, the Chihuahuas will begin a four-game series against Tacoma beginning on Tuesday, April 19, and continuing through Friday, April 22, at home. After this 10-game homestead, the Chihuahuas will be on the road until May 2nd.

Adrian Broaddus and Juan Carlos Navarrete may be reached at [email protected]