Posted by Mack Ade at 7:00 AM
The Las Vegas 51s rallied late to grab a 5-4, game one win over the Reno Aces to gain control of the Pacific Conference Championship Series.
Reno continued its latest trend of scoring early when Garrett Weber launched an opposite-field solo home run to lead off the second inning.
Aces' starter Clayton Richard kept the 51s off the scoreboard for the first four innings, and Reno extended the lead in the fifth. Roger Kieschnick led off the inning with a base hit to left-field and moved to second on Mike Jacobs' one-out single. Kieschnick scored on Danny Dorn's line drive base hit to right-field to make it 2-0.
After Weber drew a walk to load the bases, 51s manager Wally Backman turned to reliever John Lannan in favor of starter Rafael Montero. Lannan started his night by issuing a walk to Mike Freeman to force in another run.
Trailing 3-0, Las Vegas started their rally when Cory Vaughn belted a solo home run to start the bottom of the fifth inning. Richard then walked Daniel Muno and Anthony Seratelli, ending his night after just four-plus innings.
Patrick Schuster retired the first batter he faced on a fly out but then allowed a run-scoring base hit to Cesar Puello to cut the Aces' lead to 3-2.
Kevin Plawecki wasted little time tying the game in the sixth inning when he blasted a solo home run off Jess Todd to make it a 3-3 game. Zeke Spruill relieved Todd in the seventh but didn't fare any better. The right-hander got the first two outs in the inning before allowing a pair of base hits and walk. Former Ace Brandon Allen gave Las Vegas a 4-3 lead on two-out, run-scoring base hit.
Reno bounced right back when Nick Ahmed started the eighth inning with a triple high off the wall in left-center. Kieschnick followed with a sacrifice fly to score Ahmed with the tying run.
It didn't take long for Las Vegas to grab the lead right back. Spruill started the bottom of the eighth by hitting Vaughn with a pitch. It came back to hurt when L.J. Mazzilli singled through the left side, scoring Vaughn with the go-ahead run.
The Aces went in order in the ninth inning to seal the win for the 51s. Reno out-hit Las Vegas, 11-8, but went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.
Game two of the best-of-five series is Thursday night in Las Vegas. Left-hander Andrew Chafin (5-6, 5.34) starts for the Aces against right-hander Matthew Bowman (3-2, 3.47). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. - team press release