Scorching Socrates Brito on fiery streak for Reno Aces

Tahoe Onstage

A tip of the cap to Socrates Brito who displays an intense game face and is tearing up the PCL.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Socrates Brito may soon be called up to the Reno Aces’ big-league affiliate the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 25-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic is batting a whopping .341 with a homer and 18 RBIs to go along with a team-leading 21 runs scored and seven stolen bases.

Brito, who had a triple for his 10th extra-base hit on the season, was a bright spot for the Aces in a 5-1 loss to the Albuquerque Isotopes on a windy Friday night in front of 4,854 bundled-up fans at Greater Nevada Field. The visitors took three of the four games in the series.

“Socrates has been tremendous,” Aces manager Greg Gross said. “He’s gotten off to a great start and hasn’t chased anything out of the zone. Over time, teams will start adjusting to his strengths, so it’s up to him to adjust to those changes being made. As a manager, I’m not worried in the slightest. I have all the faith in the world in his ability to get on base and play great defense.”

Tim Parsons / Tahoe OnstageBrito’s name was etched into the Reno Aces record books on April 7 when he tied the franchise record for hits in a game going 5-for-5.

Brito made his major-league debut for the Diamondbacks in September 2015, posting a .303 batting average in 33 at-bats. In 2016, he appeared in 40 games, hitting four home runs with 12 RBI and four extra base-hits in 95 plate appearances.

His signature moment in the big-leagues came in the seventh inning of a 2-1 deficit that year, launching a three-run bomb off Colorado Rockies starter John Gray to deep left field which broke a 2-1 Diamondbacks deficit.

The injury bug bit Brito hard last year and he landed back in the Biggest Little City. He underwent surgery to repair a dislocated finger and was limited him to just 78 games with Reno. Despite an injury riddled season, Brito’s potential was on full display. He tallied a line of a .291 batting average, and .336 on base and .449 slugging percentages with five homers and 44 runs driven in. Brito had a day to remember on May 27 when he came up a home run shy of his first-ever cycle against the Sacramento River Cats.

Usually a center fielder, Brito played in right field on Friday. He was 3-for-4 with a triple in the loss to Albuquerque. It was Brito’s 13th multi base-hit game, the team high. Third baseman Kevin Cron, the 2017 Southern League MVP with the Double-A Jackson Generals, finished 2-for-4 with an RBI single. Catcher Michael Perez went 2-for-3 to raise his average to 337.

In his second game since a spot start with the Diamondbacks, Aces pitcher Kris Medlen exited the game after taking a line drive to the ribs, pitching 5.2 innings. There was no injury report or interviews after the game.

The 32-year-old Medlen dueled Isotopes flame-throwing righty Jeff Hoffman, who has 200 career strikeouts for Albuquerque, fifth-most in franchise history. He’s comfortable in Greater Nevada Field, sporting a 3.24 ERA in eight career starts while recording a career-high 11 Ks against the Aces. On Friday, Hoffman pitched four innings, giving up one earned run on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

First baseman Ryan McMahon, MLB Pipeline’s 40th ranked prospect, appeared in 28 games with the Colorado Rockies to start the 2018 season, going 9-for-50 with three RBI before being optioned to Albuquerque on May 1. McMahon, 23, who was selected 42nd overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, went 1-for-3 with a double in the third inning.

Isotopes right fielder Jordan Patterson called Tom Murphy’s RBI double to shallow left field and raised him a three-run blast over the head of Brito, landing in the Aces bullpen, capping off a three-hit, four-run first inning for Albuquerque.

After the Isotopes tacked on another run, Reno answered with a Cron’s RBI single up the middle to score Brito. Cron has three extra base-hits since returning from the seven-day disabled list.

Hoffman struck out the side in the fourth, keeping the score at 5-1.

It became worse for Medlen in the sixth inning, who surrendered five earned runs on eight hits, two walks and three punch outs. He immediately was relieved of his duties by Stefan Crichton. The Albuquerque bullpen took care of business from the fifth inning on.

Although the loss dropped their team’s record at 14-22, each Aces fan went home happy after winning a free Jumbo Jack, thanks to Reno’s 10 hits.Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

On Deck: Fan-favorite Star Wars Night will arrive at Greater Nevada Field on Saturday, when the Aces open a four-game series against the El Paso Chihuahuas, 19-17 in the PCL’s Pacific Southern division. Right-handers Taylor Clarke (2-5, 5.91 ERA) of the Aces and El Paso’s Jesse Scholtens will be the starting pitchers. It will be the first Triple-A start for Scholtens, who was 4-1 with a 2.80 ERA, 45 strikeouts and just 7 walks in 35 innings for the San Diego Padres Double-A team, the San Antonio Missions. Scholtens, a 9th round pick in the 2016 draft, is from Fairfield, California and he played for Wright State in Ohio. The game will start at 6:35 p.m.

Notes: The Reno Aces bullpen struck out five consecutive Albuquerque batters in the seventh and eighth innings, with three-straight whiffs from Crichton and back-to-back punch outs by Neftali Feliz. …  The Isotopes have hit 23 triples in 2018, the most in Minor League Baseball. They also lead the league in triples with 79 in 2017.

-Isaiah Burrows

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

About Isaiah Burrows

Tahoe Onstage sportswriter Isaiah Burrows also is a general assignment reporter for CarsonNow.org, an online news source in Carson City. He is a journalism major at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he writes sports for the Sagebrush student newspaper. He is the Reno Aces beat writer for Tahoe Onstage.

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