Reno is no longer their home team, but more fond memories from the Biggest Little City were made on a mid-August night for Brock Stassi, Cesar Puello and Ronnie Freeman.
The trio combined for six hits and five RBIs to lead the Sacramento River Cates to a 9-1 win over the Reno Aces on Tuesday at Greater Nevada Field, tying an intradivision series at a game apiece.
The highlight for the Aces was Christian Walker’s 18th home run of the season, his 50th with Reno, tying him for third in franchise history. Reno is 62-59 and in second place In the Pacific Northern, eight games out of first with less than three weeks left in the season.
The left-handed Stassi had a standout career with the University of Nevada. During his three years with the Wolf Pack, he was named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and he was an All-WAC first baseman. He played 51 games with the Philadelphia Phillies last season, but was released and played most of this summer in the independent leagues. The San Francisco Giants signed him last week, and in his third game with the River Cats played first base and knocked home two runners.
Cesar Puello batted .317 with the Aces this year and led the team in walks. The outfielder opted out of his contract on Aug. 1 and signed with the Giants, his fifth organization. While he played left field for Reno, he was in right on Tuesday with the River Cats and he went 2 for 4 at the plate.
Ronnie Freeman was a fifth-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012 and advanced to Triple-A Reno in 2016. He played in 70 games for the Aces last year. He was traded to the Giants in spring training. He went 3 for 5 against his former team on Tuesday.
Notes: River Cats starter Chris Stratton improved to 3-0 with the win. The 20th overall pick of the 2012 draft is 8-7 in 19 starts with the big league club this season. He was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 4. … Hunter Strickland’s second rehab line was identical to his first: No runs, no hits, no walks and 2 strikeouts in one inning pitched. … Ildemaro Vargas’ franchise-record 35-game hitting streak ended on Sunday. He had a single on Tuesday and has hit safely in 55 of his last 58 games. Usually a shortstop, he played second base on Tuesday. … Deven Marrero was at shortstop. He was acquired by the Dbacks in a trade on March 24 and has spent much of the season on the disabled list. He was designated for assignment, cleared waivers, and joined the Aces. … Former Aces infielder Jack Reinheimer’s uniform number is 72, and he’s loving it. He was recently promoted from the Las Vegas 51s to the New York Mets.
On Deck: In the third and deciding game of the series Wednesday at 7 p.m., the Aces right-hander Jake Buchanan (10-8, 4.81 ERA) will face right-hander Casey Kelly (10-9, 4.78). Pitchers’ duels are rare at Greater Nevada Field, but one is possible on Wednesday. Kelly is a 2008 first-round draft pick and his last start was with the Giants. He allowed two hits and no runs in five innings in his first big league appearance of 2018 and was promptly sent back down to Sacramento. Buchanan has flirted twice with no-hitters this year and was a member of the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs. Expect both to be back in the big leagues in September.