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Reno defeats Chihuahuas on the mound

Gaby Velasquez

Reno’s pitching staff struck out 15 batters and rode an early start to overcome the Chihuahuas 4-3 on April 23 at Southwest University Park.

The Aces’ starting pitcher and the Diamondbacks no. 1 rated prospect Anthony Banda struck out 11 batters in 5.2 innings on the mound.

“He (Banda) was able to use both sides of the plate and we were not expecting that. His secondary pitches were good, and he has a good fastball. He kept us off balance,” Chihuahuas Manager Rod Barajas said.

The Chihuahuas have dropped to 8-10 on the year, while Reno lifted themselves to 10-8 this season.

Matt Magill (1-1), El Paso’s starting pitcher, received his first loss of the season in six innings on the mound on Sunday, but pitched well after the opening inning. Banda earned his second consecutive win and is now 2-1 on the year.

In the opening inning, the Aces opened up the flood gates on the Chihuahuas, as Reno poured in four scores on four runs to get on the board first. El Paso had a chance to put away the first two batters on a possible double-play ball but second baseman Diego Goris had the lone but biggest error on the day.

“It goes to show how important every game is, we weren’t able to overcome the error when it was put in play. It turned the whole game. They put up four runs, but we bounced back and he gave us six shutout innings after that. He (Magill) was impressive,” Barajas said.

Instead, the Aces went through all nine batters in the first inning before the bleeding finally stopped for El Paso. Reno’s first baseman Christian Walker hit a single to drive in his teammate Ketel Marte, and a batter later, the Aces’ right fielder Oswaldo Arcia doubles to make it 2-0 in favor of the away team.

But they weren’t done yet. Reno’s third baseman Carlos Rivero hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Walker and Arcia was brought across the plate by Kristopher Negron’s single at the eight spot in the lineup to extend the lead 4-0. The damage was done before the first three outs of the game.

In response, El Paso added a run of their own when third baseman Cory Spangenberg tripled to bring left fielder Jose Pirela across for the score. But with a chance to chip away at the lead after the score, the Chihuahuas could not cash in on any more scores despite runners being on bases. The Chihuahuas left two batters stranded in the bottom of the first inning.

The score read 4-1 at the end of one with the away team on top.

It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Chihuahuas finally figured out Banda’s hot pitching once again.

El Paso’s first baseman Jamie Romak walked up to the plate with only one out and a three run deficit. Romak waited patiently until he finally received a walk to first base then the recently hot hitting right fielder Jabari Blash was up to bat.

Blash knocked the only Chihuahua home run of the day against Reno with Romak on first to bring the score 4-3, and Banda’s day was quickly brought to a close afterwards.

“Blash was in a struggle before these games, but he’s been working everyday. He’s always in the cages,” Barajas said. “His timing and footwork is better now.”

When the eighth inning came around, El Paso’s chances at a comeback looked the highest it’s been all day.

Romak doubled with only one out and had Blash—who has hit two homeruns in the last two games come to hit—Blash earned a walk. Runners were at first and second with only one out and a one score game.

But, the pitching came through again for Reno and they escaped with no damage, ending on a strikeout.

El Paso ended the day with five hits, compared to eight for Reno. Franchy Cordero, Chihuahuas center fielder went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.

The series will continue tomorrow at 6:35 for game three with the series tied at one.


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Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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Reno defeats Chihuahuas on the mound