The Las Vegas Aviators made a memorable comeback on Memorial Day at Greater Nevada Field.
RBIs from Cody Decker and Juniel Querecuto put the Aces up 7-5 in the bottom of the eighth, but Las Vegas rallied with a four-run ninth to steal the victory on Monday in Reno.
The 9-7 loss snapped back-to-back wins for the Aces.
Reno had 12 hits. Matt Szczur went 3-for-4 with a two-run blast in the sixth to tie the game in the sixth. Tyler Heineman went 1-for-5 with a two-RBI double. Querecuto finished 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
The Aces turned a season-high four double plays. The most since July 17, 2017. Second baseman Domingo Leyba was at the forefront of two of them.
The Dominican Republic native nabbed a line drive from Las Vegas left fielder Mark Payton and tossed a dart back to first base for the 4-3 double play in the first inning.
His impressive grab came at a cost. Yasmany Tomás, who remained in the game, was seen limping after Aviators’ center fielder Dustin Fowler collided at first.
Leyba ended the second inning with a double play.
Reno third baseman Wyatt Mathisen saw Leyba’s unassisted double play and raised him with a diving grab capped-off by a rocket throw back to first base.
A pair of right-handed hurlers made a return to the Biggest Little City. Starting pitcher Matt Koch made his first home start with the Aces after appearing in nine games with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was Designated for Assignment, cleared waivers and was optioned to Triple-A Reno.
Koch pitched just one inning, giving up one earned runs on three hits.
Bradin Hagens made his first relief appearance in Reno since Aug. 31, 2018. He was added back to the Aces’ roster from extended spring training on May 25. Hagens surrendered four earned runs on 10 hits and one walk in five innings.
The Aviators’ offensive assault was catalyzed by leadoff hitter Jorge Mateo. Mateo went 3-for-5 with two runs. His blazing speed on the basepaths stretched a routine single into a double in the first inning.
Mateo, 23, leads the Pacific Coast League with nine triples. He’s batting .327 with six home runs, 10 doubles and 39 RBIs on the year.
The Aviators jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Las Vegas plated three more runs in the third highlighted by four-straight singles. Tomás stopped the bleeding with a 3-2-3 double play. Reno answered with three runs in the bottom of the third. Szczur’s two-run bomb knotted the contest in the sixth.
The Aces scored two more runs in the eighth. Las Vegas poured it on with four runs in the ninth to secure the win.
Back to the show: Jimmie Sherfy was recalled to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday morning after Luke Weaver was placed on the 10-day injured list. The flame-throwing reliever was optioned back to Triple-A Reno on May 25. Sherfy, the Aces’ all-time saves leader, did not make an appearance in Reno.
Notes: The Aces have hit multiple triples in two games this season. … Sunday’s quality start from southpaw Anthony Vasquez marked the fourth quality start from an Aces pitcher this season. … Reno is 4-3 against Las Vegas on the year. In five of seven games, the losing team hasn’t three or more runs. … The Aces are 11-15 in May. … In 1,010 minor league games, Decker has 209 nine career doubles to go along with 199 home runs and 631 RBIs.
On Deck: Reno, 21-30, faces Las Vegas for the fourth and final game of the four-game series at 6:35 p.m. Right-hander Taylor Widener will take the hill for the Aces. Paul Blackburn is the Aviators’ expected starting pitcher.